Ok so I realize the title seems confusing, so let me elaborate:

Often times someone with a high level of knowledge in a some subject, may be inadvertently over-charitable to others, in assuming that they too have the same high level of knowledge, and insights that he/she may, whilst more often than not, that is not the case. In doing so, (especially in competitive environments), they may then assume, (and get discouraged further), in initiating a new project/venture with their insights, because they think that "everyone" already knows what they know, and so their idea isn't unique, and may be "already thought-of / done".

Is there a word/phrase that may capture such a thing? It's sort of a cross between selling yourself short because of knowledge/insight, since you falsely believe everyone else already knows what you know.


  • 1
    This is the other part of the Dunning Krueger effect, and it's also called Imposter Syndrome. I think this question may be a duplicate of this one.
    – Laurel
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 23:44
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    @Laurel Hi Laurel, I am aware of Impostor-Syndrome, but in my case, it is not a matter of confidence, and not what I mean. The nuance here is that in this case, even with someone who is confident/etc, they might just unconsciously believe that others in their field have their insights. I actually believe this is more to do with just forgetting how hard it is to learn something, and so once learned, you think everyone else already knows the concept/insight. Thanks Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 23:51
  • Yeah, it's kind of the antonym of the Dunning-Krueger effect.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 24, 2018 at 21:50
  • Yep. Sounds like imposter syndrome. People with imposter syndrome are experts and know they are experts but feel they may not have anything special to offer.
    – user323578
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 22:20

2 Answers 2


Unconscious competence

Where a person has learned a skill and embodied it so much that they have forgotten that they ever learned it. They thus imagine that everyone else knows it as well - having forgotten the process that they themselves went through, to learn that skill.



I think "overestimating" peoples' knowledge/competencies is the closest I can get to what you mean.

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