A recent survey to find out who is susceptible to “fake news” found that people who hate the media were more likely to misidentify misleading information. The research studied a few thousand individuals in the USA about their thoughts on news sources and their education. In an ironic twist those that believe in fake news couldn’t identify what was fake. The findings of the research found that higher education and older age both were factors in being able to find the fake headlines.
That divide — a positive or negative reaction to “news” — mapped onto a number of other elements the researchers surveyed.
For instance, people were given three at least somewhat plausible headlines and ledes that might appear in their local newspaper. Two were real; one was fake. Those with positive attitudes fared better in figuring out which was which. In Kansas City, 82 percent of the half-glass-full types figured out which was fake, versus only 69 percent of the half-glass-empties. (The fake headline? “New study: Nearly half the nation’s scientists now reject evolution.”)
The ability to tolerate ambiguity varies from person to person and that ability can impact how we interact with the world around us. The intolerance of uncertainty contributes to one’s anxiety and some researches think that individuals strive to make their lives more certain for comfort. Indeed, there has been research into views on uncertainty and political views. In these uncertain times it’s helpful to think about how people think about uncertainty.
Brown University just released a study on the connection between ambiguity and tolerance trust levels in relationships. People who can cope with vagueness demonstrate more prosocial behaviour in terms of trusting others.
Tolerance of ambiguity is distinct from tolerance of risk. With risk, the probability of each future outcome is known, said Oriel FeldmanHall, author of the study and an assistant professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown University. The many unknowns inherent in social situations make them inherently ambiguous, and the study finds that attitudes toward ambiguity are a predictor of one’s willingness to engage in potentially costly social behavior.
That incomplete knowledge, she said, means “social exchanges are rife with ambiguous — and not risky — uncertainty: we can’t apply specific probabilities to how a social exchange might unfold when we don’t have certainty about whether the person has trustworthy intentions.”
Oxford University researchers have concluded that the more intelligent a person is the more likely they are to trust other people. This is assumed to be the case because smarter people have a better at determining what sort of people they want to be around and self-select to be around people who can indeed be trusted. The study also points out the benefits of trust for society at large (including not intelligent people).
The Oxford researchers found, however, that the links between trust and health, and between trust and happiness, are not explained by intelligence. For example, individuals who trust others might have only reported better health and greater happiness because they were more intelligent. But this turns out not to be the case. The finding confirms that trust is a valuable resource for an individual, and is not simply a proxy for intelligence.