Too much to think about? Let the government handle it.


The less people know about important complex issues such as the economy, energy consumption and the environment, the more they want to avoid becoming well-informed, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Through a series of five studies conducted in 2010 and 2011 with 511 adults in the United States and Canada, the researchers described “a chain reaction from ignorance about a subject to dependence on and trust in the government to deal with the issue.”

Source: Science Daily

Here is the authors’ conclusion:

“Beyond just downplaying the catastrophic, doomsday aspects to their messages, educators may want to consider explaining issues in ways that make them easily digestible and understandable, with a clear emphasis on local, individual-level causes,”

OK, interesting. Those of us who would like to influence what people think about certain topics can take this advice. Of course, it brings up the issues of “framing” and “dumbing down”, but it’s a valid point that HAS to be considered. On the other hand, the authors of the press release provided no details on these studies – like the percentages of people who actually behaved this way (all we got was “more” which could be 51% but maybe 99%),  so I can’t really see the whole story. Hmm. I guess that’s my responsibility to dig to find it. Oh well, got other things to do. I trust the government is looking into these things.