Why We Want To Tune Out Complexity–And How We Can Address This
New research published by the American Psychological Association finds that the less we know about a complex social issue, the more we avoid becoming well-informed. We consider a few implications.
A recent piece at Sci Guru got us thinking about the old adage — and now verified cognitive bias — that states that ignorance is bliss. Research published by the American Psychological Association found that the less people know about complex issues like the economy or climate change, the less we’re inclined to educate ourselves about it. Additionally, the more urgent the issue, the more people want to remain unaware.
One of the more interesting effects identified by the study was our tendency to trust an external organization or party to handle the issue — in this case, the government — as its relative level of complexity increases. In other words, the more complex the issue, the likelier we are to ‘outsource’ it and trust the government to handle it. According to Sci Guru: