Math and Politics

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Did you know that you fail at math problems that contradict your political beliefs?

1,111 test subjects +
2 fake scientific studies. Different subjects but same data
+
4 questions involving calculation
=
1.) Correct responses on apolitical questions 2.) Incorrect responses on political questions

How it works

Participants, what we know:

Numeracy = ability of participants to solve math problems
Political views= from conservative republican to progressive democrat
Question: What result is most supported by the study?

Results:

Apolitical Questions:

Of all numeracy percentiles= 59% got the question wrong
Of 50th+ numeracy percentiles= 48% supplied the correct answer
90th+ percentile=75% supplied the correct answer
59% of of all participants messed up the math
Those above the 90th numeracy percentile answered correctly 75% of the time.

Political questions:
Above the 90th numeracy, 57% answered correctly.

Higher Numeracy individuals use their cognitive abilities opportunistically to promote identity-protective beliefs.

With a representative profile:
52/48% female/male
48=Average Age 73% white
11% black
16% other
28% republican/36%democrat/30% independent Average of ‘some college’
$40,000-$49,000 mean salary

This tendency is well documented across political issues. Politics ruins our ability to look at evidence objectively, and even to DO MATH.

mathpolitics-thumb

Citations:

  1. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2319992
  2. http://grist.org/politics/science-confirms-politics-wrecks-your-ability-to-do-math/
  3. http://www.nature.com/news/why-we-are-poles-apart-on-climate-change-1.11166
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