For John, BLUF: Opinions are cheap, knowledge is expensive. Nothing to see here; just move along.
From the Foreign Policy Magazine blog we have a posting by Mr Joshua Keating, "The less you know". Well, it was fresh when it appears just after noon on Tuesday, 30 April 2013. The lede:
People who hold extreme views on complex policy issues tend not to have thought all that hard about the ramifications of those policies. That's the argument behind a recent paper published in Psychological Science by Philip Fernbach of the London School of Business, Todd Rogers of Harvard's Kennedy School, Craig Fox of UCLA, and Steven Sloman of Brown.Per the article, the report notes:
Perhaps the take-away for our discussions, like on City Life is this:As predicted, asking people to explain how policies work decreased their reported understanding of those policies and led them to report more moderate attitudes toward those policies. We observed these effects both within- and between-participants. Change in understanding correlated with position extremity, such that those exhibiting greater decreases in understanding tended to also exhibit greater moderation of their positions.
This new study suggests that the problem is not the amount of political conversation people have, but the type. When we have to explain a policy, we find that we're not quite as confident in our stance on it.Regards — Cliff