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The Dunning-Kruger Effect; The secret to a longer life may lie in... dog food

Published: Thursday, July 21, 2011

Have you heard of the Dunning-Kruger Effect?  I hadn’t until I read an article by Patrick Burns (no relation) in the July edition of Dogs Today.  Although the name is new, the concept is very familiar.  This is that people who are new to a subject have an inflated sense of their own knowledge of the subject.  The least competent are usually certain that they are the most excellent. As they become more knowledgeable, they start to realise how little they really know, unless they are really dumb.  Patrick Burns relates this to the world of dog breeding and training but his biggest broadside is aimed at the raw food/BARF enthusiasts.  As I was reading the article I burst out laughing. I know exactly what he is talking about.

The flipside of the Dunning-Kruger effect is that those are really experienced tend to see themselves as being unsure about their own expertise.  As Patrick writes, “The wisest and most experienced hands in the world of dogs [me?] are often less cock-sure than those who are 25 minutes on the scene.”

I urge you to read the whole article.

 “The secret to a longer life may lie in… dog food”, screamed a front page headline in last week’s Sunday Times.  More than interesting! The science editor writes that a Nevada company has claimed to have discovered enzymes within cells which might slow the ageing process.  So far it’s only a theory; there is no drug capable of actually slowing the ageing process.  If it is ever produced it won’t be approved for testing on humans but perhaps it might be tested on dogs.  Oh, and the potential market is huge.

So, no breakthrough and no story and nothing to do with dogs, just a stunt to gain publicity and funding for research.

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