Does Education Make you Stupider? Pt. 2

Well, the first post didn’t quite have that name but that was kind of the message.  In a nutshell, that post discussed research showing that a better basic understanding of science made for more intense partisanship. Now a short article in The Atlantic describes a somewhat similar exercise generated by More in Common, but this time directly addressing partisanship itself. Basically, this summarizes a study asking people questions about the beliefs of their political opposites.  And once again, more education seems to make people misjudge reality.

Honestly, this is discouraging. But wait–it gets more bizarre.

Basically Democrats lacking a high school education had a pretty firm fix on the opinions of members of the Republican party, correctly estimating what fraction of Republicans agreed or disagreed with certain policy statements. But as you go up the education ladder, Democrats get worse and worse.  Republicans, on the other hand, are pretty much the same at all levels with no discernible correlation with education.  The study claims this is because graduate-educated Democrats have few or no Republican friends.

Now there are a number of other interesting correlations that are probably less surprising. The more you consume political news, the more you vilify your political opponents. And the more you share political news on social media, the more you vilify your opponents.  Basically, the farther in the echo chamber you go, the more you think your political opponents are utterly hopeless.

So there you go. Media consumption and education make you more ignorant. So if you ever wanted an excuse to become oblivious to the news, here’s your excuse.


2 responses to “Does Education Make you Stupider? Pt. 2”

  1. Paul Braterman says :

    Among other things, a reminder of the damage we do ourselves on social media, and how algorithms tend to make us, in the worst possible way, even more like ourselves than we already.

    Writing from the UK, I can think of only two friends who would even contemplate voting Conservative, and only one who supported Brexit in the referendum.

    Every time I look up a book on Amazon (I use Amazon for readers’ reviews, although I make my purchases elsewhere), Amazon tweaks my profile further in the same direction.

    And, as we have seen, the way in which educated liberals look down condescendingly on their more conservative opponents has results that are truly deplorable


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