Donald Trump has baffled people around the world with his presidency so far. One theory that could help explain some of his actions is the Dunning-Kruger effect.
This is a cognitive bias where people with lower abilities feel superior and can massively misjudge how much they know.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Stephen Fry explains in a Pindex video:
When McArthur Wheeler learned that lemon juice was used as invisible ink, he rubbed it on his face and confidently proceeded to rob two banks. When the police found him he was shocked.
The case inspired experiments by professors David Dunning and Justin Kruger. They found that the least proficient students dramatically overestimated their own ability. Dunning found that the incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence.
“Complete ignorance breeds confidence,” the video states. So how can we change someone’s mind?
By pointing out facts, by reminding someone of a time they felt good about themselves before, or by simply smiling.
“Psychologists believe our opinions are like protective castle walls and simply pointing to facts can be a filter,” the video states.
Another cognitive bias that shapes Trump’s ideas, Fry says, is salience bias, which means he focuses on the most shocking and negative news – such as when it comes to immigrants.
Salience bias is apparent in Trump’s budget priorities, where defence, veteran affairs and NASA are his top three priorities, and environment is right at the bottom, when air pollution causes 200,000 early deaths in America each year.
Here's the full video: