The Dunning-Kruger Effect

What does the Dunning-Kruger effect have to do with Healthy Survivorship?

The Dunning-Kruger effect refers to when people of low ability believe they know more than they do. As described by Lisa Pryor in a NYTimes article, "How to Counter the Circus of Pseudoscience, self-proclaimed healers can exude confidence about their methods despite being totally unqualified to diagnose or treat disease. They don't realize how little they know, so they don't recognize their errors and shortcomings.

Many patients are tempted to invest in worthless interventions promoted by confident self-proclaimed experts and turn their back on science-based therapies with all their uncertainty. 

Healthy Survivors appreciate the value of doubt that lies at the heart of modern medicine. They value how clinicians and researchers are always looking for weaknesses and errors, striving to find better ways to diagnose and treat, willing to replace "gold standards and guidelines" with "better standards and new guidelines." If they encounter doctors who are humbled by the limits of their knowledge and their science, they see that as a sign of strength.

Prescribing the best treatment is not enough. Pryor highlights the critical importance of trust in healing physician-patient relationships. Sadly, some highly qualified physicians could learn a thing or two from celebrity healers about showing compassion and building trust.   

Healthy Survivors accept the the uncertainty of modern medicine as a necessary condition of stacking the odds in their favor. They recognize and resist the lure of false hopes. They invest only in realistic hopes.

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