Thursday, May 13, 2010
Why is the Dunning-Kruger effect so funny?
One short answer is that the Dunning-Kruger Effect is funny because of cognitive dissonance (because it is a classic irony, you see). A shorter and more obtuse answer is that it's because the word "juice" is funny. The long answer is that this theory from 1999, which I just learned about, is most often explained using this anecdote:
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1995. A local man, McArthur Wheeler, walks into two banks in the middle of the day and robs them both at gunpoint. Making away with the cash, he is arrested later that evening. Back at the station police sit him down and show him footage from the banks' security cameras. Wheeler can't believe it, the cameras had somehow seen through his disguise. He was seen mumbling to himself, 'But I wore the juice.' His was no ordinary disguise; no balaclava, mask or elaborate makeup, just lemon juice, liberally applied to the face. He was certain that the squirt of citrus would render him invisible to security cameras.
BUT I WORE THE JUICE!
You see, the word juice is funny! Examples include, "You like-a the juice?" "Juice is good yes?"
"You've got the juice now." (It's funny because Omar Epps doesn't want the juice.) Or even just the phrases "Give it some more juice" or "He's juicin'". They're all at least sort of funny because, much like the word "pants", "juice" is a funny word.