Everyone knows Murphy’s Law—anything that can go wrong, will go wrong—but fewer are familiar with the real psychological phenomenon of the Dunning-Kruger Effect which says, basically, that a person’s true competence is inversely proportional to his confidence in his competence. Now, we here at CrimeHQ don’t normally deal with the purely psychological, but the events that spurred Dunning to his discovery are well within our purview. As reported by the NY Times, Dunning was checking out a copy of the 1996 World Almanac when he came across the peculiar case of McArthur Wheeler:
Wheeler had walked into two Pittsburgh banks and attempted to rob them in broad daylight. What made the case peculiar is that he made no visible attempt at disguise. The surveillance tapes were key to his arrest. There he is with a gun, standing in front of a teller demanding money. Yet, when arrested, Wheeler was completely disbelieving. “But I wore the juice,” he said. Apparently, he was under the deeply misguided impression that rubbing one’s face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to video cameras.
I suppose if it fades freckles, it can work all kinds of other miracles, too!
So, a Public Service Announcement from your friends at CrimeHQ: before setting out to commit a felony, check with others about how smart you really are. Because your brain is lying to you.