There is a term or word that describes why people with average intelligence tend to be managers because their perceptions of their own capabilities are more in line with what they are actually capable of. As intelligence increases, the perception of one's capabilities tends to be underestimated while lower intelligence tends to yield an overestimation of one's capabilities.

I'm not saying this statement is true or otherwise, I just know that there's a word or term that describes the phenomenon. What is that word or expression?

2 Answers 2


You are describing results of the Dunning-Kruger Effect

  • This is the correct answer. It's worth noting that self-efficacy is a complicated matter with a lot of differing factors, and some demographic groups seem to show the opposite effect, or else to have it overwhelmed by other factors either toward over-estimating or under-estimating ability, regardless of the actual ability. For all that, Kruger & Dunning's paper is worth a read if only for the funny preface.
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 17:06

The term you are looking for is "anosognosia" from the greek "ανοσογνωσια" which is a composite word meaning ignorance/lack of knowledge of one's illness. The term was coined first by doctors who observed patients who had suffered a stroke, but the part of the brain that had gotten damaged was the same part where the knowledge that they had suffered the stroke also resided. Thus when asked "How do you feel today?" they sincerely responded "I'm great!", despite the fact that they could not move the entire left side of their body.

Psychologists then extended the term. They gave a knowledge test to a group of people and afterwards asked them how they thought they had performed. After grading the tests they observed a very clear correlation. Those who thought they had performed pretty well, actually had average or below average scores. Inversely those who were more cautious regarding their estimates, had achieved top scores.

The conclusion was that the skills missing from those who scored poorly, where exactly the same skills that would have led them to a better judgement when asked how they thought they had performed. In simpler terms: I'm poor at math => I score poorly on a math test & and that same lack of math knowledge is also what hinders me from passing the correct judgement that I actually performed poorly in the first place.

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