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Four stages of competence

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In psychology, the four stages of competence relate to the psychological states involved in the process of progressing from incompetence to competence in a skill:

  1. Unconscious incompetence: the individual neither understands or knows how to do something, nor recognizes the deficit or has a desire to address it.

  2. Conscious incompetence: though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, he or she does recognize the deficit, without yet addressing it.

  3. Conscious competence: the individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires a great deal of consciousness or concentration.

  4. Unconscious competence: the individual has had so much practice with a skill that it becomes "second nature" and can be performed easily (often without concentrating too deeply). He or she can also teach it to others.

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