Quiz: Are you wrong about nearly everything?

Louis Dor
Thursday 15 December 2016 11:15
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Picture:(Getty images)

How little do you know about your own country?

A recent survey by Ipsos-MORI has quizzed the Great British public on their knowledge about the country's demographics and beliefs.

The survey found that in certain areas, our perceptions were far removed from the statistical reality.

Put simply, we might be wrong about a lot of things.

So, to help deal with that realisation, we've made the survey into a brief quiz.

Are you in touch with the Average Joe? Take the quiz, below:

Bobby Duffy, managing director of Ipsos-MORI Social Research Institute, London, said:

Across all 40 countries in the study, each population gets a lot wrong. We are often most incorrect on factors that are widely discussed in the media, such as the proportion of our population that are Muslims and wealth inequality.

This is because the public are more likely to overstimate what they are concerned about, as previous studies have shown.

However, this research found pessimism about expected national attitudes in controversial issues; such as homosexuality, sex before marriage and abortion.

This survey suggests the country is far more progressive than we'd think.

In many countries, particularly in the West, we have a picture of our population that is unduly miserable and intolerant. This is important: we know what people think of as the norm is important in affecting their own views and behaviours.

We also get facts wrong that will make us focus on some issues more than they perhaps deserve: For example, we tend to think our populations are much less likely to own their own home than they actually are. In many countries we have received the message loud and clear that pressure on housing and affordability are serious issues, but we’ve underestimated how many still own their home. 

There are many reasons for our perceptions not alligning with reality.

From our struggle with simple maths and proportions, to media coverage of issues, to social psychology explanations of our mental shortcuts or biases. It is also clear from our 'Index of Ignorance' that the countries who tend to do worst have relatively low internet penetrations: given this is an online survey, this will reflect the fact that this more middle-class and connected population think the rest of their countries are more like them than they really are.

More: People in Europe massively overestimate the Muslim population, study shows

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