The Dunning-Kruger Effect May Help Explain Trump’s Support | Psychology Today
This effect may help explain why certain Trump supporters seem to be so easily tricked into believing proven falsehoods when the President delivers what have become known as “alternative facts,” often using language designed to activate partisan identities. Because they lack knowledge but are confident that they do not, they may be less likely than others to actually fact-check the claims that the President makes.
This speculation is supported by evidence from empirical studies. In 2016, an experiment found that 45 percent of Republicans believed that the Affordable Care Act included “death panels,” and a 2015 study similarly found that 54 percent of Republican primary voters believed then-president Barack Obama to be a Muslim.
The Dunning-Kruger effect is particularly worrisome when considering issues that pose existential threats, like global warming. A 2017 study conducted at the University of New Hampshire, for instance, found that only 25 percent of self-described Trump supporters believed that human activities contribute to climate change—though 97 percent of scientists who study climate change agree that they do.
This quirky cognitive bias could potentially be making it easier for Donald Trump to say unchallenged falsehoods to his more uneducated followers. In some cases, not only are these individuals uninformed, they are unlikely to ever try to become more informed on their own. In their minds, they have nothing new to learn.