Monday, 6 August 2018

'Too Dumb To Know That They Are Dumb': an unexpected explanation of why political extremism in Western democracies is as it is.....

A possible explanation for the continuing presence on the Australian political stage of Pauline Hanson, David  Leyonhjelm, Tim Wilson, Darren Hinch, Ian Macdonald, Barnaby Joyce, Michaelia Cash, Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton, Christian Porter, Julie Bishop, Josh Frydenberg, Greg Hunt, Alan Tudge and Malcolm Turnbull - Rupert Murdoch suffers from the DunningKruger effect and has infected much of the mainstream media.

Ian G. Anson, Partisanship, Political Knowledge, and the DunningKruger Effect, April 2018:

A widely cited finding in social psychology holds that individuals with low levels of competence will judge themselves to be higher achieving than they really are. In the present study, I examine how the socalled “DunningKruger effect” conditions citizens' perceptions of political knowledgeability. While low performers on a political knowledge task are expected to engage in overconfident selfplacement and selfassessment when reflecting on their performance, I also expect the increased salience of partisan identities to exacerbate this phenomenon due to the effects of directional motivated reasoning. Survey experimental results confirm the DunningKruger effect in the realm of political knowledge. They also show that individuals with moderately low political expertise rate themselves as increasingly politically knowledgeable when partisan identities are made salient. This belowaverage group is also likely to rely on partisan source cues to evaluate the political knowledge of peers. In a concluding section, I comment on the meaning of these findings for contemporary debates about rational ignorance, motivated reasoning, and political polarization.

PsyPost, 16 April 2018:

For his study, Anson examined 2,606 American adults using two online surveys.

He evaluated the knowledge of the participants by quizzing them regarding the number of years served by a senator, the name of the current Secretary of Energy, the party with more conservative positions regarding health care, the political party currently in control of the House of Representatives, and which of four programs the U.S. federal government spends the least on.

Most of the participants performed poorly on the political quiz — and those who performed worse were more likely to overestimate their performance.

“Many Americans appear to be extremely overconfident in their political knowledgeability, because they have no way of knowing how little they actually know about the world of politics (this is the so-called ‘double bind of incompetence’). But there’s a catch: when Republicans and Democrats engage in partisan thought processes, this effect becomes even stronger than before,” Anson explained.

“Partisans with modest factual knowledge about politics become even more convinced that they are savvier than average when they reflect on a world full of members of the opposite party. In fact, when I asked partisans to ‘grade’ political knowledge quizzes filled out by fictional members of the other party, low-skilled respondents gave out scores that reflected party biases much more than actual knowledge.”

“The results seem to indicate the existence of a widespread failure of political discourse in the United States: when a partisan talks to someone of the out-party, they are pretty likely to misjudge the political knowledgeability of themselves and their conversation partner. More often than not, this means that partisans will think of themselves as far more politically knowledgeable than an out-partisan, even when that person is extremely politically knowledgeable,” Anson told PsyPost.

“I think this has major implications for the breakdowns in political discourse we often observe in contemporary American democracy.”

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