Herd Mentality and a Nation of Sheep: What Aron Govil Has to Say About the Dunning Kruger Effect
Aron Govil, author of A Nation Of Sheep Will Believe A Trump, has a lot to say about how the herd mentality functions in the US. He discusses what it means to live in a bubble and how it affects our country as a whole.
Aron Govil is an entrepreneur, Bollywood actor and producer, but he’s also spent time working with various political candidates throughout his career. His insights into how people think and what they do have helped him make sense of the world and predict what’s on the horizon. As the author of A Nation Of Sheep Will Believe A Trump, he explored the herd mentality in-depth. He breaks down how it works here and what it ultimately means for the US.
The Dunning Kruger Effect
Herd mentality, sometimes called mob mentality, refers to a kind of mental blind spot that allows a crowd of people to ignore certain facts and embrace a collective feeling. Aron Govil relies on the Dunning Kruger effect in his book (named for the psychologists who proposed the theory) to explain why this type of thinking has been so detrimental for the US. Generally, herd mentality people are uneducated, non-informed, and lack critical thinking abilities but have a high opinion of themselves. Research has been shown that historically enigmatic leaders can influence over 95% of herd mentality people to make them follow their directives and agenda.
Herd mentality hasn’t always been a negative force in the world. Humans who banded together in the past have been able to fight off anything from predators to aggressive warriors. Yet we’re not seeing these kinds of benefits in the modern world, particularly when it’s only served to divide us so spectacularly.
Behavior and mentality
The wake of Trump’s presidency has not been an easy one to navigate by any stretch. Aron Govil has seen how behavior and intelligence manifest with Trump’s supporters, and the results have not been favorable. Because there are common threads that band most of his followers together, and these traits aren’t promising. They include a lack of education, a high opinion of oneself, and a general desire to avoid anything that seems foreign or alien to them.
Most Trump supporters are those people who are either misinformed or under-informed about the problems around them. It is a type of mental blind spot that makes people overestimate their knowledge, especially in those areas which are certainly alien to them. A study by some Cornell University professors, Dunning & Kruger found that poor performers in the study overestimated their performances because their inability and incompetence deprives them of the quality to recognize their shortcomings. Dunning pointed out in his study that it is equally important to have the knowledge to recognize if you are good at a task or not, just like having the knowledge to do that task.
Aron Govil believes that if the majority of Trump followers can’t open their eyes to facts or ideas that contradict their own, it will be impossible to move forward as a nation. Unfortunately, any evidence that challenges their belief systems (no matter how valid) will either be met with avoidance or aggression. Often, we see it lead to a table-turning of some kind (e.g., Trump supporters calling non-Trump supporters ‘sheep’).
There is plenty of hope for the future if we can find common ground that brings us together. For Aron Govil, he’ll continue to follow how people respond to changes in the country. With any luck, we’ll start to see more convergence instead of the exact opposite.