“The unskilled are motivated to ignore (be unaware of) their poor performance so that they can feel better about themselves.”

Previous research found that poor performers tend to overestimate how well their performance compares to others’. This unskilled and unaware effect has been attributed to poor performers’ lack of metacognitive ability to realize their ineptitude. We contend that the unskilled are motivated to ignore (be unaware of) their poor performance so that they can feel better about themselves. We tested this idea in an experiment in which we manipulated the perceived self-relevancy of the task to men and women after they had completed a visual pun task and before they estimated their performance on the task. As predicted, the unskilled and unaware effect was attenuated when the task was perceived to have low self-relevance.

Unskilled and Don’t Want to Be Aware of It: The Effect of Self-Relevance on the Unskilled and Unaware Phenomenon [PLOSONE]