Can You Shoot Better Than A Cop?

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From Tamara Keel

Can You Shoot Better Than A Cop?

He cites a published study that “…broke down the shooters into three classifications: expert, intermediate, and novice. Experts had either finished the academy shooting course or had been trained in the military while intermediates had no formal academy training but had shot before in either recreational settings or had military rifle training. Finally, the novices were just that. Many of them had never even held a gun in their lives.”

You can see the problem already, right? Military handgun training, outside of a handful of job descriptions, is laughable. The handgun training from a typical LE academy is better than that, but still unlikely to turn out any pistol wizards, either.

Then comes the part that doesn’t automatically follow, which is that us non-po-po shoot better than that. Well, we probably do… assuming we’re an active competitive shooter and/or have had some formal training ourselves.

But as far as the general run of the mill shooting public? I go to the public shooting range. A lot. I see how the general shooting public shoots. It’s not very well. The average shooter at a public range finds the 7 ring of a B-27 at seven yards to be a less than clout shot.

I am not a very good shooter. I’m the special ed student at gun school. When I walk the prize table at a match, I find myself wondering if the tablecloth is not the most valuable thing left on the table, since I already have a Bore Snake and a three ounce bottle of CLP. But when I go to the public range of a weekend? I’m almost always a veritable ninja compared to the shooters on my right and left.

The average shooter is never presented with an opportunity to find out how bad they are, because things like scores and timers are foreign to their experience. It is possible to go to the range monthly for years and years and never see any meaningful improvement because it’s hard to improve that which you do not measure. There’s a lot of Dunning-Kruger in the shooting world.

It’s worth noting that Dr. Dunning’s solution to the cognitive bias experienced by novices that bears his name is to do exactly what Tamara Keel recommends here.

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Solving Dunning-Kruger Effect

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Dunning–Kruger Effect is a cognitive bias in which people of low ability or skill maintain illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their ability, skill, and/or experience as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority comes from the inability of low-ability people to recognize their lack of ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition (an awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes), low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence.

Dunning–Kruger Effect impacts all humans and everyone (including you and me) is potentially susceptible. It has been recognized by many people over the course of human history. Dr. David Dunning and his graduate student Justin Kruger established a variety of test methodologies to measure this phenomenon and published a formal research paper about their found results.

David McRaney is the host of the excellent You Are Not So Smart podcast. He recounts when he first realized the Dunning-Kruger Effect impacted him.

I remember the first time in my life that I really recognized that [Dunning-Kruger Effect] was true.

In college, I staged a fighting game tournament where I set up all these video game systems and I invited people from around the country to the university to play. We had a group of friends – it was like, 8 to 10 people in our hometown who played this game – and we thought that we were amazing at it. We thought that we were the best in the world and I had no problem inviting the champions at this game from around the country to come to play against us.

Every single one of us lost our matches immediately. Like, we didn’t even place. We didn’t even come close. We were absolutely destroyed. And I remember all of us sort of shaking our heads and rubbing our temples and thinking, “How could we not just be not okay but actually suck? I mean, how is that possible?”

I bet that sort of thing happens a lot amongst people who are sort of at the amateur level and feel that they have achieved something.

Every human is susceptible to Dunning-Kruger Effect. The challenge is to be willing to find the means to overcome it. Because this is a cognitive bias – a mistake in reasoning, evaluating, and/or remembering – nobody can reliably do it on their own. As McRaney’s example illustrates, it was only after he and his friends organized a tournament, invited everyone that was interested and thought they were good, and measured the results did he finally snap out of his delusion of competence.

Dr. David Dunning confirms this is the path to solving Dunning-Kruger Effect.

“Why don’t people know themselves?”

You begin to realize that there are just some really big barriers to knowing yourself. That’s if you make it a private task that only you are engaged in. If you don’t talk to [and engage with] other people.

If you talk to other people, they can be sources of invaluable insight into yourself. Some of these insights may be unpleasant. Also, just watching what other people do and benchmarking what you do versus what they do can be a source of insight. It takes a village, if you will, for a person to know themselves.

We engaged in a number of studies where we exposed people to others who are performing very poorly to performing extremely well and what we find is that the collective is pretty good at knowing who’s bad.

A last hint is to ask, “Are you vaguely embarrassed by things you did 5 or 10 years ago?” And if you are, that means you’re improving. I mean, if you think about the self you were 10 years ago and you’re not embarrassed by something that you did, you might be off the task.

TL;DR
Go shoot a match or compete in something outside your unit or immediate group of friends once in a while. If you don’t, you’re almost certainly a victim of Dunning-Kruger Effect and are not able to even realize it.

Full interview with Dr. David Dunning:
YANSS Podcast 036 – Why We Are Unaware that We Lack the Skill to Tell How Unskilled and Unaware We Are


As measured ability/knowledge improves, so does the awareness and self estimate of that ability/knowledge. The top 20% will tend to underestimate their measured ability/knowledge.

It’s worth pointing out that it is wrong to believe the D-K effect applies only to people who are “incompetent.” This is wrong on two levels. The first is that the DK effect does not apply only to “incompetent people” but to everyone, with respect to any area of knowledge.

It is important to how the D-K effect is interpreted. The vast majority of people who bring it up seem to think that it applies only to dumb people and that it says dumb people think they are smarter than smart people. Neither of these things are true. Further – if you think it only applies to other people (which itself, ironically, is part of the DK effect) then you miss the core lesson and opportunity for self-improvement and critical thinking.

More:
https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/misunderstanding-dunning-kruger/

 

Fixing the Army’s Broken Culture

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Military elements often retain a degree of tradition, sometimes to their detriment and well past any meaningful use. Examples include the foolish and ineffective approach that initial entry training (“basic”) continues to be conducted and long-obsolete and useless holdovers such as drill and ceremony. I’ll begrudge an exception to D&C for personnel formally directed to conduct a tattoo while also pointing out the general fraud, waste, and abuse of such pompous displays.

Things like this are continued under the false guise of instilling discipline and learning how to pay attention to detail despite no evidence that they accomplish either:

http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/styles/lewin_style.htm
http://www.kurt-lewin.com/leadership-styles.shtml

Kurt Lewin’s research on leadership and group dynamics indicates an over-bearing authoritative approach typified by the drill sergeant stereotype may be the worst way to lead people in many situations, especially if you want them to be capable of thinking and leading on their own one day. Test groups can revert to even worse undisciplined behavior than those put into laissez-faire control groups when the authority figure is removed. If you enforce babysitting measures upon personnel as the only means of enforcing discipline, then you’ll have to always and forever ensure a babysitter is present.

Forward-thinking leaders have commented on the need to break obsolete and detrimental traditions, even directing that future leaders must be able to function under disciplined disobedience.

Here are some examples:

https://soflete.com/blogs/knowledge/surfers-hippies-hipsters-and-snowflakes-counterculture-in-sof

https://warontherocks.com/2016/09/six-ways-to-fix-the-armys-culture/

https://www.army.mil/article/187293/future_warfare_requires_disciplined_disobedience_army_chief_says

https://warontherocks.com/2017/05/three-things-the-army-chief-of-staff-wants-you-to-know/

https://medium.com/s/story/10-dumb-rules-that-make-your-best-people-want-to-quit-8491b446dde5/

Future warfare requires ‘disciplined disobedience,’ Army chief says

“I think we’re over-centralized, overly bureaucratic, and overly risk-averse,” Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley said while speaking at the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C., as part of the Atlantic Council Commanders Series.

Leaders on the battlefield could expect to be out of contact with their own leadership for significant periods of time. Those officers would still need to accomplish their commander’s objectives, even when the conditions on the battlefield change and they are unable to send word up the chain of command.

“We are going to have to empower [and] decentralize leadership to make decisions and achieve battlefield effects in a widely dispersed environment where subordinate leaders, junior leaders … may not be able to communicate to their higher headquarters, even if they wanted to,” Milley said.

In that environment, Milley said, the Army will need a cadre of trusted leaders on the battlefield who know when it’s time to disobey the original orders they were given and come up with a new plan to achieve the purpose of those orders.

“[A] subordinate needs to understand that they have the freedom and they are empowered to disobey a specific order, a specified task, in order to accomplish the purpose. It takes a lot of judgment.”

Such disobedience cannot be “willy-nilly.” Rather, it must be “disciplined disobedience to achieve a higher purpose,” Milley said. “If you do that, then you are the guy to get the pat on the back.”

Milley said that when orders are given, the purpose of those orders must also be provided so that officers know both what they are to accomplish and how they are expected to accomplish it.

More:
https://www.army.mil/article/187293/future_warfare_requires_disciplined_disobedience_army_chief_says

None of this is new. This formal 1978 study Military Self-Discipline: A Motivational Analysis reveals the same things
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a055017.pdf

Worst of all, despite having formal, studied, decades-old evidence that a self-discipline approach selects for and produces better outcomes than an overbearing, authoritative approach, there is NO formal evidence that the current model provides any benefit.

The topic of leadership has been extensively studied in a range of occupational settings. Findings indicate that employee ratings of leaders predict occupational outcomes such as job turnover, satisfaction, and performance in both military and civilian occupational settings.

Approximately 72,000 soldiers go through Army BCT in the United States each year (http://www.jackson.army.mil/sites/info/) … [A]lthough there are several possible leadership qualities that could be displayed by Drill Sergeants, from being harsh and demanding to mentoring and motivating, there have been NO studies that have systematically assessed Drill Sergeant characteristics. [emphasis added]

Trainee Perceptions of Drill Sergeant Qualities During Basic Combat Training was published in 2013. The Department of Army spends money to send 72,000 new recruits through initial entry “basic” training every year and has done so for many decades but has never bothered to study if the established approach is effective.

Despite the hallucinations of personnel imagining that the stereotypical drill sergeant approach is “necessary” or even useful, there is no evidence for it.

What has the Army response to this been? As expected of the illiterate majority, more of the same failed nonsense.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/04/24/army-making-more-drill-sergeants-increase-discipline-ait.html

https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2017/11/28/its-official-the-army-is-bringing-drill-sergeants-back-to-ait/

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