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PHL among countries 'most ignorant of key issues', but also among most confident — survey

The Philippines has landed in the company of Brazil, and South Africa as the “most ignorant” countries due to inaccurate perceptions on key issues, Indy100 reports.

The attention-grabbing headline is based on the Ipsos Perils of Perception report released in December 2017, which “highlights how wrong the online public across 38 countries are about key global issues and features of the population in their country.”

At the top of the list as "most accurate" is Sweden, followed by Norway and Denmark. The Philippines was in the middle in 2016, placing 16th in the scale.


Over 500 respondents between the ages of 16 to 64 were interviewed in the Philippines about murder, teenage pregnancy rates, terrorism, and vaccination among other topics.

Despite giving inaccurate statistics on these topics, the respondents from the Philippines were among the most confident about their answers — ranking third yet again.

Meanwhile, Norwegian respondents, who ranked high in accuracy, weren't confident about their answers. 

In the field of psychology, this is called the Dunning-Kruger effect, a cognitive bias or a “mistake in reasoning” wherein people misjudge the level of their knowledge or skills.

The Macmillan Dictionary defines it as “the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own competence.” More competent people, on the other hand, acknowledge their limitations and might play down their expertise.

There were 29,133 surveys conducted between September 28 and October 19, 2017 in 38 countries including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Great Britain, and the USA.

“Across all 38 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 deaths from terrorism, murder rates, immigration and teenage pregnancy,” Bobby Duffy, Managing Director of Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute was quoted as saying on the official website.


He added, “There are multiple reasons for these errors – from our struggle with maths and proportions, to media and political coverage of issues, to social psychology explanations of our mental shortcuts or biases.”

Duffy explained that extensive coverage of a topic influences public perception and pushes people to overestimate its importance or seriousness.

“It is also clear from our ‘Misperceptions Index’ 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,” he said. — LA, GMA News

Tags: surveys