Unskilled, unaware, or both? The better-than-average heuristic and statistical regression predict errors in estimates of own performance

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2002 Feb;82(2):180-8.


People who score low on a performance test overestimate their own performance relative to others, whereas high scorers slightly underestimate their own performance. J. Kruger and D. Dunning (1999) attributed these asymmetric errors to differences in metacognitive skill. A replication study showed no evidence for mediation effects for any of several candidate variables. Asymmetric errors were expected because of statistical regression and the general better-than-average (BTA) heuristic. Consistent with this parsimonious model, errors were no longer asymmetric when either regression or the BTA effect was statistically removed. In fact, high rather than low performers were more error prone in that they were more likely to neglect their own estimates of the performance of others when predicting how they themselves performed relative to the group.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Awareness*
  • Cognition*
  • Humans
  • Random Allocation
  • Self Concept
  • Task Performance and Analysis*