December 2, 2016

CB Dunning-Krugerby Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much Grace

All images by Cindy Kunsman and Under Much Grace and used with permission.

Just a reminder that the purpose of this discussion aims at stimulating thought and self awareness as tools to help those in recovery from trauma learn how to make safer choices. To make the discussion more jocular, we’ve defined Cognitive Biases as “CranioRectal Inversions” (CRI).
I think of this as knowing just enough about something to be dangerous. Basically, people – roughly two thirds of people – who lack training in a certain topic grossly overestimate their skill and aptitude by wrongly assuming that they hold mastery of it.  They project confidence about it because they’re totally ignorant of the fact that they’re misguided.
Take note of the diagram that I’ve borrowed from Skepticblog which shows the convergence of estimation of scores and actual test scores as knowledge improves. Unless and until they actually gain some legitimate training in the area, people who fall into the Dunning Krueger trap also fail to accurately estimate the skill of others. There are tons of people like this in pseudoscience fields – the blind leading the blind. (Image can be seen here)
On the other hand, the people who actually possess reasonable mastery of a topic or skill tend to underestimate their aptitude. They also tend to take for granted that a particular field of study that comes easier to them comes just as easy to others. So they also tend to underestimate the skill and knowledge needed because they use themselves as a starting point of comparison. I have read that only children tend to be prone this aspect of the Dunning-Kreuger Effect. Apparently siblings provide a great service by stretching one’s ability to more easily comprehend different perspectives.
Dunning Kruger
Dunning Kruger’s Flipside
I tend to fall into the flip side of this tendency (sometimes called the Imposter Syndrome) because of how I was parented. Any kind of ‘pride’ including healthy self-satisfaction was punished as the sin of conceit. I worked hard and still sometimes have to bolster myself to overcome this underestimation of self. It’s a terrible thing to do to a child, something I discussed at some length in how parents unknowingly prime a child to be easy prey for spiritual abuse.
I remember sitting with a group of nurses at lunch more than a quarter of a century ago, and one lashed out at me, claiming that I feigned ineptitude as a means of getting attention. She came from a “good enough” family and had no clue what I felt. My default assumption was always that I was the most inept person in the crowd. I was never permitted to truly lay hold of my abilities or to have the attitude that I was competent. I could trust competency that I demonstrated, but I never really trusted that it was ‘me.’ If I turned out to be successful at something, it was just habit or something that everyone else could do.
I sat there, feeling utterly shocked, partly because I’d never heard the angry coworker say anything complementary about me. (Well, it wasn’t directly complementary, but there was a modicum of respect buried under her frustration.) If I was successful at something, it had to be fluke, or I owed that success to someone else. Though it was confusing and painful, it became a watershed moment for me where I was able to recognize this tendency in myself through the eyes (or rather the accusatory feedback) of someone else.
It called clearly for me to change and grow, and none of that has been an easy process. I’m still working this out. I didn’t have the healthy encouragement that I needed when I was young, and I find that it is quite a difficult thing to learn as an adult. ‘Normal’ people from ‘good enough’ homes take so much of what seems like self-awareness and self-knowledge for granted. I not only have to figure out who I am, where I am, and how I fit with others, but I also have to overcome the old baggage of the negative, disturbing messages of the past – my default path of least resistance.
Like other biases, I seem to attach a moral meaning to it all and risk thinking more highly of myself than I should. Keep in mind that for me, because of all of this baggage, certain admonishments in Scripture were quite skewed. The English Standard Version of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church in Philippi translates a statement as “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” 
Doesn’t that somehow automatically make others more significant than me – especially in terms of needs? This does attach a definitive moral weight to ascribing more significance to self than is warranted, but I still struggle to figure out the difference between healthy ambition that flows from a strong sense of self-worth and selfish, sinful ambition which demands the laud of others. I was raised without any awareness or permission to have healthy self-worth.  How can I begin to interpret this moral imperative in a healthy way without a healthy footing as a starting place?
CB Asymetric InsightIn the Leader
Leaders in high demand groups sometimes know very much about theology, but sometimes, they don’t. Many incompetent religious leaders survive on their charm and charisma, by playing politics, parroting others, and/or by feigning empathy (which they lack). Their forte shines in their people skills, not in their ability to exemplify the values of their faith. Then there are the leaders who are true believers who are really good guys until it comes to certain matters. Then they pull the authority card, and the good guy melts away. The Sacred Science which governs group dynamics ensures the illusion that the leader is a master of knowledge. Many groups also enforce the idea that if skilled in one area, the leader must have special insight and superior skills in all areas. Those who fail to observe this tradition suffer a variety of direct and indirect types of punishment by the leaders and by other members.
Like the cult leader’s Illusion of Asymmetric Insight into the lives of others becomes an institutionalized part of an unhealthy religious system, the Dunning-Krueger Effect can come into play. I’m continually amazed at how automatically this seems to happen in a high demand group with a charismatic leader. Even if that leader is incompetent, no one may speak of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Instead of saying nothing, the system demands that members encourage whatever the leader does – whether it’s good or not. Perhaps I think this way because of my own experiences, but I wonder if high demand relationships require that the subordinate parties adopt their version of the Imposter Syndrome? Perhaps it become akin to the patterns that Patrick Carnes notes in dysfunctional relationships?
As the Leader’s Weapon
A few times in my life, I have had the intensely painful experience of confrontations with a few people who have been my authorities of one variety or another. They all tend towards self-serving biases that cast them as somewhat superior or very superior to others, all in their own, unique ways. Two of those people were more blue collar vocational folks, one I think of as a quasi-professional (college education in theology), and one was an academic type professional with an advanced degree. There was a definitive power motive in play, and the goal was the annihilation of my confidence. They meant to shame me into shutting up and jumping back into line as a subordinate without an opinion of worth. Two of them were leaders in my spiritually abusive church.
Three of these people really caught me off guard because I thought of all but the academic as as very empathic, but I suppose that everyone has their limits. Relationships among imperfect people become complicated. People will sometimes also resort to out-of-character behavior when they feel threatened, and I didn’t think that they were capable of or ever interested in ever hurting anyone that deeply. Basically, when faced with something about me that they didn’t want to accept or couldn’t respect, they chose to protect their bias at my expense. I was accused of suffering from the Dunning-Krueger Effect, or what I think of as “too big for my britches.”
Having worked through the uphill battle of a lifetime to embrace who I am (sometimes quite capbable) and take pleasure in accomplishment (which differs from sinful pride), I don’t have adequate words to express how much pain it creates for me when I’m accused of being haughty or puffed up about something specific. On two occasions, I answered questions that the people I spoke with didn’t know that I knew and felt shame that I’d happily offered an answer to the question. (I well could have pointed to sources in reference books that would have backed me up and could contact professionals that could verify my interpretation.) The other two occasions involved my offer to do work that I’d done quite successfully in the past. How hard it is for me to listen to someone tell me that I can’t possibly have done a particular thing or couldn’t possibly have been trained in a particular area when I know that I have. And I don’t understand the posturing and the angry or glib response of those who discount me.

I think with three of the people that come to my mind now, I believe that if they really understood how painful their response was for me, given my history, they would not have said what they said to me. And the other person? It troubles me deeply because I don’t believe that they even care, one way or the other. Used as a weapon against me that renders me powerless and makes any attempt to plead my own case look like subterfuge, the accusation of being the opposite of who I know that I am hurts terribly. The statements weren’t made to help me see through my own bias. They were made to hurt me and bolster someone else at my own expense. I became insignificant, helpless, and forever fundamentally flawed.

Two of my religious leaders have done this to me quite poignantly. It happened quite a bit on a low level, too, just among other members of my church. We all had to praise the new clothes of the emperor. We paid the price if we failed in that duty. For someone who grew up with a collapsed sense of self, it seems to me that encountering a leader who tends towards this kind of bias results in terrible pain.  It goes back to the moral issue for me — that I have disregarded others and used them in the process of trying to pretend that I’m more than I am.  To me, that’s one of the very worst things that a person could do to another precious soul, especially if they are already so wounded.  I’ve been there and know how painful it is.  How ironic that a person in pain can turn their own bias around to make it their weapon.  For me, it isn’t just a bias or a blind spot or a human failing.  It’s an act of harm.  That is something that I never want to ever do to another.  (And that is a world away from healthy conflict, even if the negotiations are heated and uncomfortable.  One can disagree without deep insults about a person’s being.)

And if anyone is interested, my relationships with all of the people I allude to above did not last.  They couldn’t.  I became healthy enough to end them.
For Further Reading until the next post:

moreRead more by Cindy Kunsman:

Benchmarking and the Secret Knowledge Bias of the Cult Leader

~~~~~~~

Cindy is a member of the Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network.

Cynthia Mullen Kunsman is a nurse (BSN), naturopath (ND) and seminary graduate (MMin) with a wide variety of training and over 20 years of clinical experience. She has used her training in Complementary and Alternative Medicine as a lecturer and liaison to professional scientific and medical groups, in both academic and traditional clinical healthcare settings. She also completed additional studies in the field of thought reform, hypnotherapy for pain management, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that is often associated with cultic group involvement. Her nursing experience ranges from intensive care, the training of critical care nurses, hospice care, case management and quality management, though she currently limits her practice to forensic medical record review and evaluation. Most of her current professional efforts concern the study of manipulative and coercive evangelical Christian groups and the recovery process from both thought reform and PTSD.

She blogs at Under Much Grace and Redeeming Dinah.


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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon

April 15, 2019

by Cindy Kunsman

Do some conditions increase negativity without our notice? Researchers investigating sleep deprivation found a powerful causal factor for negativity through Implicit Bias – a negative attitude towards people or the group wherein we categorize them. Stereotypes are misleading, but sleep deprivation makes us more likely to resort to them. When tainted by the Negativity Bias, those who manifest it have no difficulty citing explicit reasons for their grim outlook (usually ad nauseum). Those who fall into the trap of Implicit Bias cannot cite evidence or rationales for their prejudice.

Studies of sleep deprivation show a drop in all areas of mental acuity as well as an impressive causal connection with Implicit Bias. We all understand that lack of sleep can make us grumpy, but this study and ongoing work continue to yield data that validates this hypothesis.

If you visit ProjectImplicit.com, you can check your own implicit bias which was given to subjects at the end of a week of sleep deprivation and again some weeks later after they were able to recover. The tool asked them to categorize paired words and concepts to indicate whether they were ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Everyone performed reasonably well when they were given simple lists of single words, but when those words were paired with other words that made the choice more complex, they demonstrated “moderately strong negative biases.” Even people who fell into a frowned upon category in the study identified themselves as ‘bad.’

We use the heuristic of prejudice to help us make decisions more rapidly, but in the case of the Implicit Bias, we do not perceive our own transient attitude changes. When in a sleep-deprived state, we usually don’t realize or believe that our performance drops below par for our norm. Similar to the Dunning-Kreuger Effect wherein we overestimate our competency, we don’t notice that our attitudes shift into grumpiness which takes a serious toll on our ability to resist prejudice.

We can begin to diminish the likelihood that we will make bad decisions by providing for adequate sleep, and when we find ourselves in a grumpy state, we can guard against snap, automatic prejudice, simply because we know of the tendency. Other studies suggest that anti-bias education helps to reduce the incidence of bias in the workplace, and it may help to include the consideration in workplace hiring practices. When we know that we’re short on sleep, we can make sure to adjust our internal boundaries (those we impose upon ourselves by setting limits on our own behavior) to guard against our grumpy attitudes and situations that will magnify and feed our prejudice.

And it should go without saying that we’re wise to avoid manipulators and cultural enforcers when we’re sleepy because we know that sleep deprivation dulls all of our cognitive abilities.

Further Reading:

Cindy is a nurse who was raised in Word of Faith, a Second Generation Adult of cultic Christianity. She and her husband dabbled in Calvinism and Theonomy as a foil to Christian anti-intellectualism, and they were exit counseled together when the walked away from a church that embraced Gothard’s teachings. Cindy escaped many Quiverfull pitfalls but became a social pariah for failing to birth a family. She’s been decrying the abuses of the Patriarchy Movement since 2004, and she writes about spiritual abuse at her blog, Under Much Grace. Read more about her here.

She blogs at Under Much Grace, Enmeshed for Jesus, and Redeeming Dinah.


Stay in touch! Like No Longer Quivering on Facebook:

If this is your first time visiting NLQ please read our Welcome page and our Comment Policy! Commenting here means you agree to abide by our policies.

Copyright notice: If you use any content from NLQ, including any of our research or Quoting Quiverfull quotes, please give us credit and a link back to this site. All original content is owned by No Longer Quivering and Patheos.com

Read our hate mail at Jerks 4 Jesus

Check out today’s NLQ News at NLQ Newspaper

Contact NLQ at SuzanneNLQ@gmail.com

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jocelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon

December 26, 2016

CB False Consensus NON-ASCHby Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much Grace

All images by Cindy Kunsman and Under Much Grace and used with permission

Just a reminder that the purpose of this discussion aims at stimulating thought and self awareness as tools to help those in recovery from trauma learn how to make safer choices. To make the discussion more jocular, we’ve defined Cognitive Biases as “CranioRectal Inversions” (CRI).
The False Consensus Bias refers to a tendency to overestimate the number of people who share our views, beliefs, values, and behaviors. I tend to think of Descartes’ “I think therefore I am.” If I start with myself at the center of my understanding, it seems to naturally follow (at first) that most people will be somewhat like me. I think this, therefore a good number of people will think the same thing. You are your own norm, and you can fall into the trap of thinking that you represent most people.

(more…)

December 9, 2016

Serpent and Doveby Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much Grace.

All images by Cindy Kunsman of Under Much Grace and used with permission.

Just a reminder that the purpose of this discussion aims at stimulating thought and self awareness as tools to help those in recovery from trauma learn how to make safer choices. To make the discussion more jocular, we’ve defined Cognitive Biases as “CranioRectal Inversions” (CRI).

(more…)

May 30, 2016

itsnotthatcomplicatedby Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide

All quotes from the Botkin’s book will be in blue text.

Today’s post covers the Botkin Sisters’ views on women’s intelligence.  To no one’s surprise who has managed to read this far, the Botkin view of women’s intelligence is determined entirely how she makes a man feel.

I find this entire section gross, FYI. (more…)

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