Michele Bachmann Interview Perfectly Exemplifies The Dunning-Kruger Effect

In 1999, David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University’s Department of Psychology began testing a theory that occurred to them after hearing a story about a man who thought — because lemon juice could be used as an “invisible ink” — that  he could douse himself in it and then go rob a bank and no one would see him.

What they proposed was that individuals who were incompetent were more likely to overestimate their own skill, and also more unlikely to recognize actual skill in others.

In four studies, testing people on things like humor, grammar and logic, it was found that those who tested in the lower quadrant tended to greatly overestimate their own skill level. For instance, those in the 12th percentile rated themselves in the 62nd percentile. Conversely, those who tested the highest tended to rate their skill level much lower than they actually were.

To put it succinctly, the less people know the more they think they know, and the more people know, the more they know they don’t know. Incompetent people suffer from illusory superiority, as competent people suffer from impostor syndrome.

This phenomenon is now called “The Dunning-Kruger Effect” and it is the only thing I can possibly think of that could possibly explain Michele Bachmann. Particularly in this interview she just did with World Nut Daily, as she continues her neverending farewell tour, Cher-style.

Via WordNetDaily:

“I took them on, and their agenda, and I went to the heart of whatever it was they wanted to advance, and tried to take it apart through evidence-based arguments, and they don’t like that. When the left argues, they argue from emotionalism.”

Bachmann contended that the left does not argue from a logical, linear point of view. So, she took on what she called leftists’ false premises and said providing evidence contrary to their views was the best way to defeat them.

She suggested the left couldn’t counter her facts, so it attacked her.

“I did that, and you do pay a price. I became a target for them, but so what? Why else am I here?” she asked. “I was here to advance the cause of liberty and freedom, and I am glad that I did what I did. It does come at a price.”

As long as we have known Bachmann, she has literally never used facts or logic to do or say anything. In fact, she was actually so bad at facts that, as RightWingWatch points out, the Associated Press’s chief fact-checker had to give himself a “self-imposed Michele Bachmann quota” because pretty much everything that came out of her mouth was a ridiculous lie. The website Politifact found that out of all the 2012 Presidential candidates, Bachmann had the highest number of “inaccurate” statements.

So although Bachmann clearly rates herself very high in the use of facts, logic and evidence…her actual skills in this area are incredibly low.

In another segment, Bachmann vastly overestimates the amount that a “normal person” might agree with her.

Via RightWingWatch:

“So the Tea Party I think is a very important — and those ideals are a very important movement. People still believe in Second Amendment rights, people still believe in upholding the rights of the unborn, a number of us still continue to contend for traditional marriage between one man and one woman. These are all important value sets and I think that is part of the lamp that I tried to carry is to continue the values that brought us up to be the greatest country in the world in all of human history,” she said. “We have a Judeo-Christian history. We are not a theocracy but we live on principles that are Judeo-Christian principles.”

She keeps saying “we,” as though she’s got everyone in this country standing behind her. Certainly, if we all agreed abortion and the Second Amendment, these things would not be two of the most hotly contested issues of our day. If we all agreed with her about same-sex marriage, then the majority of us would not disagree with her on same sex marriage.

Ironically, in the interview, Bachmann finally finds herself on the other side of the Dunning-Kruger effect, as she vastly underestimates her ability at the one thing she is actually really good at–putting her foot in her mouth and saying horrible things quite regularly. When asked if she regretted any past statements, she merely stated “Obviously, I wish I would have said things differently sometimes than what I said. But, if you’re married, you know, you feel that way everyday. You say things that you shouldn’t say. I don’t regret for a minute that I fought and I contended. I wish I would’ve been better, but I always tried. I learned. One thing I did was I learned, and I tried to do better all the time.”

No need to be so demure, Michele, about the time you said 9/11 was “God’s Judgment.” We all heard you.