Sometimes I observe a person very competent in one area (say, Philosophy) peremptorily expressing his opinion on an unrelated area (say, Medicine) as if he were an expert there also (and he is not).

In other words, competence in one domain translates into a subjective perception of competence in an unrelated domain.

Is there a name for this cognitive bias?

This is more than mere Kruger-Dunning effect ("Unskilled and Unaware of It") - the incorrect subjective perception of competence in one domain is driven by the correct perception of competence in another domain.

PS. Amazingly, the same question has been already asked elsewhere:

Is there a term for a person who moves from one field of expertise to a new field and has an inflated belief in their competence in the new field?

The answers offered there are:

PPS. Related: Does Golden Hammer really exist?

  • If it is not incorrect (cf. your comment re this is more than...), then, why would that be cognitive bias? If it is correct, even if the person is not an expert, it would be cognitive intelligence. Inte-legere, to read between the lines. Similar to emotional intelligence....Sounds like a good thing to me....
    – Lambie
    Nov 22, 2016 at 19:29
  • @Lambie: it is a bias because the person incorrectly presumes his competence. it is not KD because it appears to be fueled by an unrelated competence.
    – sds
    Nov 22, 2016 at 19:37
  • @sda there is a contradiction in the question.
    – Lambie
    Nov 22, 2016 at 19:39
  • 2
    Close to such cognitive bias, but not covering it all: "presumption" (assuming something without having any real knowledge about it, and that is usually not a good thing).
    – Graffito
    Nov 22, 2016 at 21:53
  • @Graffito: you might even say "presumptuousness" :-)
    – sds
    Nov 22, 2016 at 22:06

2 Answers 2


The "halo effect" is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as

The tendency for an impression created in one area to influence opinion in another area

Usually, this term would be applied to the opinions of others towards the would-be cross-disciplinary expert described the question, but perhaps it could be applied to the would-be expert's opinion of him- or herself.


Appeal to Authority (argumentum ad verecundiam or argument from respect). A logic fallacy wherein a reference is made to an established authority in one field in support of an opinion in unrelated subject. The established authority can be the reputation of ones own self.

  • Have you an authority supporting this? Or are you a philosopher / surgeon / ....? May 14, 2020 at 15:41
  • 1
    Wikipedia: << An argument from authority (argumentum ab auctoritate), also called an appeal to authority, or argumentum ad verecundiam, is a form of defeasible argument in which the opinion of an authority on a topic is used as evidence to support an argument. >> No mention of interdiscipliniary trespassing. May 14, 2020 at 15:46
  • And no exclusion either. An appeal to authority is not limited to authorities other than ones self. And the subject matter is likewise unrestricted. May 14, 2020 at 15:49
  • This is at best an over- broad hypernym (unless you can find a precising definition including the interdisciplinary aspect). But can you even find a dictionary (etc) definition specifically licensing self-authorisation? May 14, 2020 at 19:19

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