In 1996 McArthur Wheeler walked into two banks and attempted to rob them in broad daylight, wearing no disguise. The video surveillance caught his face clearly and later that day he was recognized and arrested, to his surprise. He remarked, “But I wore the juice.” Wheeler mistakenly believed that rubbing lemon juice over your face and body rendered you invisible to video cameras. He had tested this apparently, by shooting a Polaroid of himself, and somehow his image mysteriously never appeared in the shot.
Cornell University psychology professor David Dunning read about Wheeler and it struck an idea: If Wheeler was too incompetent to be a bank robber, maybe he was also too incompetent to know he was incompetent in the first place. Dunning and his team went on to publish a study and found that indeed incompetence can mask the awareness of one’s incompetence. The phenomenon is now called the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
Read the whole story: SmartPlanet
See David Dunning at the 26th APS Annual Convention.