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Tue Apr 17, 2018, 06:41 AM

Study: People with less political knowledge think they know a lot about politics

From http://www.psypost.org/2018/04/study-people-less-political-knowledge-think-know-lot-politics-51062

Study: People with less political knowledge think they know a lot about politics

By ERIC W. DOLAN
April 16, 2018


(Photo credit: olly)

People who know less about politics are more confident about their political knowledge, according to research published in the scientific journal Political Psychology. The new study found that this effect was exacerbated when partisan identities were activated.

“The Dunning-Kruger effect holds that individuals with little knowledge about a topic will be, paradoxically, the most confident that they know a lot about the topic. Knowledgeable individuals will also discount their knowledgeability,” explained study author Ian Anson, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

“I became increasingly interested in the Dunning-Kruger effect after observing other scholars discuss the subject on Twitter in the run-up to the 2016 election. I follow a number of political psychologists who marveled at the social media pundit class’ seeming display of ‘Dunning-Krugerish tendencies’ in their bombastic coverage of the election.”

“Many of these scholars’ posts were assuredly somewhat tongue-in-cheek; after all, the idea that someone is ‘ignorant of their own ignorance’ is a pretty serious accusation when used in the political arena,” Anson told PsyPost. “At some point after the election, several individuals began referring to Trump’s presidency as the ‘Dunning-Kruger Presidency’, as Trump appears to opine incredibly confidently about topics he appears to know little about.”

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More at link.

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Study: People with less political knowledge think they know a lot about politics (Original post)
sl8 Apr 2018 OP
Loki Liesmith Apr 2018 #1
Roland99 Apr 2018 #25
Sherman A1 Apr 2018 #2
tblue37 Apr 2018 #19
keithbvadu2 Apr 2018 #26
LakeVermilion Apr 2018 #3
elocs Apr 2018 #7
kimbutgar Apr 2018 #23
kentuck Apr 2018 #4
tblue37 Apr 2018 #20
kentuck Apr 2018 #22
milestogo Apr 2018 #5
elocs Apr 2018 #6
Atticus Apr 2018 #8
rock Apr 2018 #9
machoneman Apr 2018 #10
world wide wally Apr 2018 #11
TalenaGor Apr 2018 #12
alarimer Apr 2018 #13
ck4829 Apr 2018 #28
Justice Apr 2018 #14
MyOwnPeace Apr 2018 #30
Hortensis Apr 2018 #15
IronLionZion Apr 2018 #16
MrScorpio Apr 2018 #17
Javaman Apr 2018 #18
Firestorm49 Apr 2018 #21
AdamGG Apr 2018 #24
keithbvadu2 Apr 2018 #27
Doodley Apr 2018 #29
Snackshack Apr 2018 #31

Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 06:48 AM

1. Dunning-Kruger is a cruel master

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Response to Loki Liesmith (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 09:28 AM

25. Yes, indeed

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 06:50 AM

2. I believe that scenario stretches beyond just politics

How many times in our lives have we come across that one individual who is the all time expert in all things. Worked with one years ago that we referred to as “1-800 Russ” he was the self proclaimed expert on everything from sports to science to politics to medicine to anything under the sun.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:48 AM

19. Ultracrepidarian:

noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives advice outside the area of his or her expertise

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 06:55 AM

3. Tie this in with studies that show FOX viewers have the lowest basic knowledge of geography,

history and current events and you will have a description of today's conservative voter.

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Response to LakeVermilion (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 07:14 AM

7. I bought a globe at a second-hand shot just to look at occasionally to see where things are.

It's interesting because it's old and some of the country's names have changed and other no longer exist. But we were at war in places like Afghanistan and Iraq and many were clueless to locate them on a map and add to that North Korea.

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Response to elocs (Reply #7)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 09:11 AM

23. My globe sits in a prominent place in my living room

I also have a historical atlas. Looking at both these things really makes me understand geopolitical situations more.

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 07:03 AM

4. Yep!

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Response to kentuck (Reply #4)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:51 AM

20. From Yeat's "The Second Coming":

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #20)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 09:00 AM

22. Seems to be the case.

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 07:09 AM

5. I would like to get an "effect" named after me.

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 07:10 AM

6. Like all who are aghast that Clinton is not president since she won the popular vote? n/t

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 07:25 AM

8. "I watch Fox! Ask me anything!" nt

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 07:29 AM

9. The Dunning-Kruger effect explains why

On American Idol in the early rounds we used to get contestants that could not sing a lick. (AI doesn't show these contenders any longer.)

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:00 AM

10. Interesting observation, for sure.

I was not a real politico early on. I became more interested in my early 20's. The major impact on my now quite steeped political learnings (and leanings) started when I took a senior management position with the foremost privately-owned security printing firm that solely worked for all U.S. states, save Alaska.

It was then I had to immerse myself with state laws, department conventions, state contracting and bidding procedures, ad nauseum. In the process of visiting personally about 42 of those 49 states, I met most often with the Department of Revenue staff, sometimes the state's AG office and even appointed or elected state judges. What I learned after 14.5 years of this was:

-Most if not all high level staff, including those direct reports to the governor, had a marked disdain for politics, even those who were elected rather than appointed. They merely wanted to serve.
-Whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, most also could see and speak both sides of any political issue and rationalize same.
-They observed that the average citizen, let alone voter, had no idea of how things "work" in state government and even less of the Federal government's inner workings.
-Dunning-Kruger's study was years in the future yet many of these individuals pined for a wiser electorate and hoped the average citizen would really get involved to know the issues that do affect their lives.

Sadly, as I left that firm in 2001, today, 17 years later, it appears from this new report that the desires of so many dedicated state officials for a smarter, educated citizenry have not been met.


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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:01 AM

11. Dr Erwin Corey: "The world's foremost authority"

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:06 AM

12. lol the more we know the less we realize we know

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:20 AM

13. Of course everyone on this website is brilliant

(no they are not).

Dunning-Kruger also applies to YOU. And everyone actually. So you can smugly deride stupid Trump voters if you like, just be aware that we all have blind spots.

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Response to alarimer (Reply #13)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 09:47 AM

28. It's one of the things about living in a 'modern' society

Last edited Tue Apr 17, 2018, 12:53 PM - Edit history (2)

Or one that is 'organic' as opposed to 'mechanical'.

These blind spots are actually functional. Everybody can get really good in a few fields or subjects as opposed to being just maybe nearly adequate in many. I know science, how to teach things like science, math, and English (esp. as a second language) and how to balance the books, but I don't know a single thing about cars for example. There are other people for that.

The problem isn't that there are blind spots, it's knowing our blind spots and it's knowing who to go to when we don't know something.

One problem, and it's not really "both sides" or even political all the time is we see people being derided simply for being something, their expertise is denied and sometimes what they bring to the table is denied outright. Turning "liberal" into a dirty word is an example of this, non-political, accusing Muslims of lying on whatever they speak about (This whole "taqiyya" invention) is an example of that.

Another problem is this "misapplied expertise", and I think it's why we're here with our current political situation today. People who aren't experts and aren't brilliant at all but are being portrayed as such by others (Roy Moore, Sebastian Gorka, David Barton, or John Guandolo anyone?) I think a subfield of this is this "universal fitness" we keep seeing especially in today's political environment and I'm not sure it's both sides either. Things like "He's white, so he must be an expert of any field." "He's rich, so he must be some sort of omnifield super-genius"... How common is that one? Far too much if you ask me.

And I think a third problem is this idea of "secret knowledge", this goes back to those pseudo-experts I mentioned above. The things they say are actually "suppressed truths" that believers think are kept hidden by the government, by the liberals, (liberal) media, "politically correct", and others as opposed to just being gross errors, bigoted statements, pseudoscience, etc. It creates a vicious circle, believers refuse to see their "experts" as not-experts just because it's "those dang liberals" voicing opposition to them and so they are willing to go down with them.

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:25 AM

14. Right up there with people who are not lawyers thinking they know a lot about the law


Watching people on my FB page protest the naming of Hannity as violation of attorney client privilege. Don't know anything about limits of a/c privilege but just parrot what hear on Fox et al.

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Response to Justice (Reply #14)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 09:59 AM

30. And...............

*everybody is an expert regarding schools because they all went to at least one.

*everybody is a medical expert because the know somebody that "had something."

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:40 AM

15. It takes some knowledge to understand something of the

vast scope of what is not yet known. Mere information, picking up a couple facts, won't do it, either.

We're seeing something of this at work right now in people who have no idea just how extremely intelligent, competent (politically and otherwise), and knowledgeable people like Comey and McCabe had to be to rise through intense competition from similarly superior people to, and then perform in, their extremely complex and powerful positions. Comey isn't exactly the guy next door and doesn't think like the guy next door, no matter how many "lordys" or gratifyingly next-doorish insults about the president he offers people he's trying to convince those like him do.

This topic, though, reminds me of George Will on this topic talking about Trump's mental limitations:

What is most alarming (and mortifying to the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated) is not that Trump has entered his eighth decade unscathed by even elementary knowledge about the nation's history. As this column has said before, the problem isn't that he does not know this or that, or that he does not know that he does not know this or that. Rather, the dangerous thing is that he does not know what it is to know something.

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:46 AM

16. People who don't know or care about politics probably live happier lives

Politics really sucks

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:46 AM

17. Oh, gawd, yes

You can usually spot these people whenever they start politicizing non-political shit, blaming everything on the left, or Democrats, for the problem.

Basically, all they want to do is blurt out their hatred of the left.

I find people like that boring.

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:48 AM

18. does this apply to republican congress people too? LOL nt

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 08:59 AM

21. People with less political knowledge?

Perhaps the dividing line should be brought into the conversation. What is considered to be “knowledgeable” or visa versa.
I consider myself to be fairly well read with regard to politics, yet I am unable to quote precedent or the finer legal or constitutional points of a discussion. Does this make me a blowhard? Unknowlegeable? I’m sure some will say yes, and others, no. So, just where is the line of demarcation? Would one consider John Bolton a knowledgeable political scholar, or a atomic bag of pontification? How about the unpopularly elected so called leader of our country? Oh oh, I just revealed my true self - somewhat knowledgeable but still a blowhard. Nuts, there goes my day.
Hopefully, the depth of the article goes into more of the parameters of their conclusion than is revealed here, because right now, to me, the dividing line seems a bit fuzzy. Where is the point of “know less about politics” compared to “know more about politics”?

Well, off I go to read a few more political articles and try to decipher what’s real from what’s not. What’s outrageous and what’s not, and form an opinion that may be either knowledgeable or unknowledgeable. I am so confused!!!

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 09:21 AM

24. It's the Dunning-Limbaugh effect

They did a very similar study to this with Limbaugh listeners some years ago and they self-rated their political knowledge higher than other groups, but actually knew the least. That phenomenon has multiplied through the numerous platforms that similar content is now available. People hear predigested inaccurate facts/opinions that are designed to play to their misconceptions and resentments and feel that they are more knowledgeable about what's going on from consuming it.

I think the poisoned media landscape made Trump possible. Back in the days when everyone in the country was getting their news from Walter Cronkite and their local paper, at least people were operating from the same facts. The polarization from the 60s was based on real societal issues - civil rights, the sexual revolution, the Vietnam War. Now, the polarization is being manufactured for ratings and political manipulation.

I'm not sure how this can be improved. It seems like the only hope is better education for kids about civics and what constitutes fact checked journalism. But, that's probably the last thing that the board that approves school books in Texas would approve.

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 09:41 AM

27. More than half the population is above average... Just ask us.

More than half the population is above average... Just ask us.

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

Tue Apr 17, 2018, 09:52 AM

29. They know what we don't know, because they are smart. They KNOW climate change

is fake and they are therefore smarter than all the people who believe it. They KNOW
that tax breaks for the wealthiest are the key to making us all wealthier (even if they
live on Social Security). This is how they think.

"You don't know what you are talking about," implies they do.

"You don't get it," implies they do.

They have the special knowledge that makes them smarter than us. This is what I have heard many times since I came to live in America ten years ago and married into a Republican family.

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Response to sl8 (Original post)

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