Why are people so wrong?

Why are people so wrong? The Perils of Perception 2015 survey

Perils of Perception 2015: Perceptions are not reality

The Ipsos Perils of Perception Survey tasked respondents in 33 countries with identifying key issues and features of the population in their country. The findings are quite an eye opener.

People were asked about the proportion of wealth owned by the top 1% of the population, levels of obesity, the size of the non-religious population, and a host of other topics from female employment, average age, and Internet access.

According to the survey, people in Mexico and India are least in touch with reality in their surroundings, according to the study, while the Irish and the South Koreans were able to most accurately answer questions about their own countries.

However, on the whole, all the countries surveyed were pretty inaccurate, according to Ipsos.

Why are people so wrong? The Perils of Perception 2015 survey

Why are people so wrong? The Perils of Perception 2015 survey

Developed countries greatly overestimated the proportion of weath the top 1% owned, while all countries thought there were more foreigners living within their borders than there really are.

“There are multiple reasons for these errors – from our struggle with simple maths and proportions, to media coverage of issues, to social psychology explanations of our mental shortcuts or biases,” said Ipsos MORI research MD Bobby Duffy.

The countries that did the worst have low Internet penetration, he noted.

“Given this is an online survey, this is therefore likely to reflect that this more middle-class and connected population generalise from their own experience rather than consider the much greater variety of circumstances in the full populations of their country.”

Why are people so wrong? The Perils of Perception 2015 survey

Ipsos encourage debate with policy makers, academics and the public on key social realities and public misperceptions.
The intention with these kinds of surveys is to showcase their findings on the gap between perception and reality and to examine why people around the world are so wrong about basic facts about their population.

If you want to test how ‘clued-in’ you are – you can take the quiz on the Ipsos website here: www.ipsos-mori.com

Read the full results here: www.ipsos-mori.com


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