Psyc 250: quantitative methods in psychology assignment 2 question 2

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Why do people often hold overly favorable views of their abilities?


In a well-known study by Kruger and Dunning (1999), the authors suggested that “this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it” (from abstract). This overconfidence on the part of unskilled persons has been called the Kruger-Dunning effect.

As an illustration of this effect, suppose we had a group of 48 students take part in a research study for course credit. These students were told that they would be taking a test of logical reasoning. Before the test, all of them were asked to rate how well they would do for the test relative to the others in the group (“What percentile do you think your score will be in?”). Immediately after the test, these students were asked to rate how well they did for the test relative to the others (“What percentile do you think your score will be in?”). These before and after percentile ratings were compared to the actual scores that the students obtained.

If there is over-confidence on the part of the unskilled, we would expect the poorest performing students (both in absolute and in relative terms) to rate themselves more highly than their actual scores would merit.


a. Using hand calculations, conduct the appropriate test to analyze this data. State your conclusion clearly, and conduct any post-hoc analyses as necessary (no need to report in APA format). Assume that all assumptions of the test are satisfied.

[4 marks]

b. Explain how the overconfidence effect is illustrated in your analysis.

[2 marks]


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