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List of illusions of understanding

An illusion of understanding or illusion of knowing is a form of poor metacognition in which one thinks one knows something that one does not in fact know. An illusion of understanding can happen in both explainers and learners.

Name Description Whom does this illusion afflict? Example
Illusion of transparency/curse of knowledge Explainer
Double illusion of transparency Explainer and learner simultaneously
Illusion of explanatory depth Learner
Illusions of the outsourced mind [1]
Illusory superiority Explainer and learner (not necessarily simultaneously)
Impostor syndrome Explainer and learner (not necessarily simultaneously)

"Rereading a chapter a second time, for example, can provide a sense of familiarity or perceptual fluency that we interpret as understanding or comprehension, but may actually be a product of low-level perceptual priming. Similarly, information coming readily to mind can be interpreted as evidence of learning, but could instead be a product of cues that are present in the study situation, but that are unlikely to be present at a later time. We can also be misled by our current performance. Conditions of learning that make performance improve rapidly often fail to support long-term retention and transfer, whereas conditions that create challenges and slow the rate of apparent learning often optimize long-term retention and transfer." (Bjork and Bjork) (I think this post reinvents the "illusion of explanatory depth" idea)