People are clocking onto the fact that Brexit was… not a good idea. A recent survey by Public First suggests that only a fifth leave-voters think Brexit is “going well”. Why did over half of the nation vote in favor?
Well, new research suggests that leave voters are more likely to have lower cognitive abilities those who cast their vote for remain – which may have made them more susceptible to disinformation and misinformation.
Researchers from the University of Bath found 73 percent of British voters in the top 10 percent of cognitive performance voted remain. Among those in the bottom 10 percent, only 40 percent wanted to stay in the EU.
This relationship remained, though it was less pronounced, even after researchers took into account income levels and education. Even among couples where the two spouses voted in different ways, the remain-voting partner was likely to do better on cognitive tests than their leave-voting counterpart.
Scientists analysed the data of 3,183 UK couples from an ongoing longitudinal study called Understanding Society, which has followed a representative sample of households since 2009. Their findings have now been published in the academic journal PLOS One.
Study authors Chris Dawson and Paul Baker say their results suggest that “low cognitive ability makes people more susceptible to misinformation and disinformation” – like, for instance, the supposed PS350m Brexit windfall that would go to the NHS, or that we’d be able to “take back control of our borders” .
Intelligence is not the only factor in people’s voting choices, they note, but it is – plausibly – one of the factors. “It’s an uncomfortable thing to say, but I think it’s important to be said,” Dawson told the Times.
He added that these findings are on a general level and not personal, so people should “not get angry or joyous, depending on whom they voted for”.
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