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WashPost: Politicians' Ideology Can Blind Them to Facts

WashPost: Politicians' Ideology Can Blind Them to Facts
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By    |   Thursday, 05 October 2017 10:09 AM

Politicians' beliefs can affect how they deal with evidence, according to research conducted by The Washington Post.

The research was conducted among 954 local politicians in Denmark. In one survey, they were asked to evaluate parents’ satisfaction with a public school and a private school. In one group, the schools were labeled "A" and "B," while in the other, the schools were labeled "Public School" and "Private School."

The results showed that the politicians interpreted data correctly in the "A or B" group, while they often misinterpreted the data in the "Public or Private School" group based on their beliefs about school systems, according to the Post.

Another question in the survey added more evidence to support one side. Health providers were labeled "public" or "private," and different groups of politicians were given one, three, or five pieces of information that supported that conclusion.

That survey showed that the more evidence, the more politicians remained firmly behind their former beliefs on the subject, the Post reported.

The study, however, found out that politicians were not alone in sticking to their beliefs despite evidence. The study also surveyed 1,000 Denmark citizens who were not politicians and got similar results.

Politicians are "perfectly capable" of evaluating information when they do not hold pre-existing opinions on the issue, which suggests that evidence is important in decisions over issues that are not politicized, according to the Post.

The findings suggest that, in politics, evidence and measurement does not automatically mean better decision-making.

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Politicians' beliefs can affect how they deal with evidence, according to research conducted by The Washington Post.
politicians, ideology, blind, facts
248
2017-09-05
Thursday, 05 October 2017 10:09 AM
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