Friday, September 25, 2015

Predicting Political Knowledge

Scholars have long tried to understand what factors predict political knowledge. Education is the standby, the consistent predictor -- with the more educated respondents doing better on political knowledge tests than those with less education. A few other factors come and go, depending on the analysis strategy and how you model the data. Media use, for example, sometimes is a factor and sometimes has no role to play.

This study asks a somewhat different question -- do personality traits better explain this than does education? The answer is, well, read below:
Openness to experience and intelligence are found to be positive predictors of political knowledge and Neuroticism a negative predictor of political knowledge. In both studies education remains the single strongest predictor of political knowledge. Furthermore education can, to a large extent, even out the differences in political knowledge between those with high and low cognitive abilities
So education continues to boss around all the other variables, even interesting ones like personality traits such as openness to experience.

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