Tuesday, January 08, 2008

It's the Stupid, Stupid

By Cernig

If you wonder why it's so easy for politicians to stir up a warlike fenzy about bombing other countries - it's because many otherwise clever people have a better idea of where all the save points on their latest first-person-shooter videogame are located.
On average, young Americans can find one (1.3) of these four countries. Fourteen percent can point out all four countries correctly, while 44% cannot find any of them.

After three years of war in Iraq, only 37% of young Americans can find Iraq; 63% cannot. As many can—and cannot—identify Saudi Arabia. The result is even worse for Iran and Israel. Only one in four can find Iran (26%) or Israel (25%). Three-quarters cannot find these two countries. Overall, up to one in five say they “don’t know” where these four countries are located (ranging from 16% for Iraq to 20% for Iran).

Education makes a difference in young adults’ ability to locate these four countries in the headlines: young Americans with college experience (1.6 correct answers on average) are more likely than those with up to a high school education (0.9 correct) to locate these countries. That said, even the more educated group fares relatively poorly, with less than a quarter of those with a college education able to find all four countries (23%, 6% of those with up to a high school diploma).
Hat tip to the Armchair Generalist, who has a ghast just as flabbered as mine is by this stunner.

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