The Concept of the Dunning Kruger Effect

I see the Dunning Kruger effect around my life often.  As a musician, I often hear people talking up themselves, or talking down on others, when in reality they are not that good.  This could be due to two reasons mainly:

  1. They are aware of it, but they do it to make themselves feel better.
  2. They are delusional.

The first one is self explanatory, so I'd like to dwell on the second one.  What exactly is this delusion that they're under?

This is where the Dunning Kruger effect comes into place.

Two social psychologists, David Dunning and Justin Kruger,  noticed that there was a cognitive bias in people who can not identify their own competence leads to inflated self assessments."  Simply put, there are people who are unable to see why they are not skilled.  Because they are unable to see what makes themselves skilled (or rather, what makes them unskilled,) they are also unable to see why others may be more skilled than they are.

Lets apply this back to yoyo.

Many players suffer the Dunning Kruger effect.  They are so set on attempting to be a certain playstyle, and they rush to it, that they the necessary foundations of yoyo.  This is extremely visible on stage.

Remember the Phantom Menace?  After seeing Darth Maul slay his own master, Obi Wan Kenobi is overwhelmed with anger, and decides to go on an all out offense.  Obi Wan is a form III fighter, meaning that he is a defensive fighter.  Although he is fighting out of style, and overwhelmed with emotion, he is able to hold his ground for a while (he loses the saber fight.)

What about Anakin Skywalker?  Under the delusion that Obi Wan is trying to take away Padame from him, he is controlled by his anger, and he fights.  However, he loses the fight when Obi Wan gains the high ground.  Anakin then says "You underestimate my power," and is subsequently cut.

Note Anakin's exact words. "You underestimate my power."  Obi Wan was his master, and personally saw to it that he became a Jedi master.  How could the person that trained him underestimate his power?  Why did Anakin lose so bad, but Obi Wan survive, and kill Darth Maul?

Remember that Anakin started his Jedi training much later than Obi Wan.  He had less time to learn everything that he had to learn.  Obi Wan had learned everything earlier, and had time for his fundamental skills to be locked in.  This is not to say that Anakin did not have fundamentals, but that Obi Wan had a much stronger grasp of them.

So why am I talking about Star Wars?  Actually, the difference between these two saber fights are the exact same as the difference between two players on stage.  Once on stage, there are multiple elements around you that change.  Instead of practicing in a room or a hall, you are now on a stage.  There are multiple cameras pointed at you.  There large speakers pointed outwards, and two monitors for your reference.  There are 3+ judges, and a crowd.  The only factor that is the same is you.

This is where your fundamentals come in.  If you do not have the fundamental control of your yoyo, how do you expect to be able to control your yoyo under all this pressure?  It's borderline impossible.  

It's terribly boring to do elements over and over again.  People would rather work on their freestyle, constantly practicing with their music over and over again.  I believe that this is wrong.  I think that it is important to practice each trick alone.  More importantly than that, it is important to understand why a trick works, so that your understand the reasoning behind the motion. 

Let's go back to the main topic: Dunning Kruger.  One can say to themselves that they understand it, but do they truly?  Would you really be able to explain why something happens?   I understand that there are some motions that can not be explained, but there must be a fundamental understanding.  The self imposing ignorance is the key detriment here.  Instead of pursuing the key to making the trick consistent, people who suffer from the Dunning Kruger effect will mindlessly practice their freestyle over and over again.  This comes down to the idea that quality of practice is much more important than the quantity of practice.

Next, lets bring the concept of Dunning Kruger to a higher level: the stage.  

Lets talk freestyles.  Yoyo player X has been yoyoing for Y amount of years.  However, instead of learning and adapting their tricks to the meta(most efficient tactic available,) they choose to keep their "style."  Because of their unwillingness to adapt, they do not do as well on contests.  This is fine, but since they haven't placed in Z amount of years, they start blaming the ever evolving metagame.  They say "This is because the judges are bad" or "I hate pointwhores."  Out of respect,  I will not name any players like this.

Yoyo player A has been yoyoing for B amount of years.  They learn and adapt to the current meta, while keeping their style.  Their willingness to adapt, as well as their established style, will help them place high at contests.  Their fundamentals, despite how nervous they may be, will keep them from absolutely failing at a contest.  Players with the yoyo player A mentality will be relevant as long as they choose to.  Players like these are(but not limited to):

1A: Andrew Bergen, Yamato Murata, Matthew Poon, Ryota Ogi, Takeshi Matsuura

2A: Shinji Saito, Hiraku Fujii, Takuma Yamamoto, Tomoyuki Kaneko

3A: Hajime Miura, Elliot Ogawa, Tomoya Kurita

4A: Takumi Hakamata, Takumi Yasumoto, Michael Nakamura

5A: Takeshi Matsuura, Takuma Inoue

One pervasive quality that these players have are that they have all lasted the test of time.  Because of their ability to adapt, and their strong fundamentals, they are able to stay at the top, as a recognizable name even after all this time.  However, this strong sense of fundamentals is not an innate thing.  They had the ability to identify that fundamentals were they key to maintaining a strong presence in all of yoyoing.  

Their key of ever evolving is very important.  They are able to realize what tricks work on stage, and what don't.  They do not do the same freestyle for 3 years, nor do they waste time on stage.  Every single player has high CPM (clicks per minute) in some way or another, whether it be through large amounts of multi-clicks, or a constant stream of single clicks.  

The ability to identify one's detriments is what holds many aspiring competitors back.  Should one take a serious consideration about the Dunning Kruger effect, I believe that their yoyo skill will spike upwards.  

Tyler Hsieh