Certainty estimates in areas outside one's expertise

by JoshuaZ1 min read27th Dec 20108 comments


Personal Blog

One issue that I've noticed in discussions on Less Wrong is that I'm much less certain about the likely answers to specific questions than some other people on Less Wrong. But the questions where this seems to be most pronounced are mathematical questions that are close to my area of expertise (such as whether P = NP). In areas outside my expertise, my apparent confidence is apparently often higher. Thus, for example at a recent LW meet-up I expressed a much lower probability estimate that cold fusion is real than what others in the conversation estimated. This suggests that I may be systematically overestimating  my confidence in areas that I don't study as much, essentially a variant of the Dunning-Krueger effect. Have other people here experienced the same pattern with their own confidence estimates?