A Statistical Explanation of the Dunning–Kruger Effect

Jan R. Magnus, Anatoly A. Peresetsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


An explanation of the Dunning–Kruger effect is provided which does not require any psychological explanation, because it is derived as a statistical artifact. This is achieved by specifying a simple statistical model which explicitly takes the (random) boundary constraints into account. The model fits the data almost perfectly. JEL Classification: A22; C24; C91; D84; D91; I21

Original languageEnglish
Article number840180
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to two referees and to the editor for their positive and constructive comments.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Magnus and Peresetsky.


  • boundary conditions
  • conditional expectation
  • Dunning–Kruger effect
  • tobit model
  • underestimation and overestimation


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