Mudcat Café message #3981236 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165570   Message #3981236
Posted By: Jim Carroll
10-Mar-19 - 06:19 AM
Thread Name: BS: Brexit #3: A futile gesture?
Subject: RE: BS: Brexit #3: A futile gesture?
A Friend just sent me this from one of teh Irish papers
Telling us what we already knew, of course
Science has dim view of Brexiteers’ brains
Jonathan Leake
Science Editor
It is a belief that some pro- Europeans already hold dear but a group of scientists now claim to have confirmed it: Brexit voters are less bright than remainers.
Researchers gave 11,225 volunteers psychological tests before the referendum and asked how they intended to vote. Results suggest that leavers tended to be less numerate, more impulsive and prone to accepting the unsupported claims of authoritarian figures.
“Compared with remain voters, leave voters displayed significantly lower levels of numeracy and appeared more reliant on impulsive thinking,” said the researchers, based at the University of Missouri.
Social scientists are increasingly interested in how personality affects voting. Authoritarian people, who favour conformity and obedience, make up about a third of the population. In America, they account for a higher proportion of voters for Donald Trump.
The research suggests that there may be similar divides in the UK. “Participants expressing an intent to vote to leave reported significantly higher levels of authoritarianism and conscientiousness... than those voting to remain,”
researchers said in a paper submitted to the Public Library of Science journal.
Nigel Farage, the MEP and former Ukip leader, said the research was “divisive and arrogant. Remain voters may have higher IQs but I’m not sure many could boil an egg or set up a business. They are well primed for the public sector and living off the taxpayer. The authoritarianism line is strange as leave voters want to be free while remain voters back an undemocratic authoritarian regime. What you can’t measure in IQ tests is patriotism which is a strong driver with leavers. Whether that’s rational or not is a separate question.”
Perhaps the key finding, however, is not about the brain power of leavers and remainers but the risk of using referendums to decide complex issues. Many voters, the scientists conclude, “lack the skills to critically evaluate information... raising a fundamental question as to whether direct democracy in the form of binary, winner- takes-all, referendums is an appropriate mechanism for deciding complicated political issues.”