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The Perils of Perception: Book Launch

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8 September 2018: In Central London, Bobby Duffy of Ipsos MORI launched his new book, "The Perils of Perception: Why We’re Wrong About Nearly Everything". Bobby presented highlights and key findings of the book, described by Stephen Pinker as ‘Mandatory reading. This mind-altering book shows how most of us are badly deluded about the state of the world'. Buy the book: http://perils.ipsos.com/book/index.html

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The Perils of Perception: Book Launch

  1. 1. 1Perils of Perception | 2018Perils of Perception | 2018 Why we’re wrong about nearly everything Bobby Duffy #PerilsofPerception
  2. 2. 2Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception The Perils of Perception studies… Over 100,000 interviews, in up to 40 countries… …guess the reality for their country and compare From immigration to vaccine safety to obesity levels to murder rates to happiness to sex… Reflects Ipsos’ real commitment to understanding society We’re often incredibly wrong – raises questions: why, and what can we do about it? Wi-Fi: The Cloud
  3. 3. 3Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception  NOT just about febrile identity politics and “fake news”  Problem across all countries and issues – and time…  …‘Political ignorance’ questions from US in 1940s showed people were very wrong…  Updated recently – similar errors on political and social facts like who’s in power and unemployment rates… This is NOT a new crisis…
  4. 4. 4Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception Suggests wide range of causes… How we think Maths and statistical skills and critical literacy Biases and Heuristics, including psycho- physics Rational ignorance Media Social media/ tech Politics Our own experience Cognitive capabilities External context What we’re told
  5. 5. 5Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception What would make you most proud of your kids? Good at reading /writing Good at numbers Neither… 55% 13% 16%
  6. 6. 6Perils of Perception | 2018Perils of Perception | 2018 But much more to our errors than numerical limitations – one of key concepts: ‘Emotional Innumeracy’…
  7. 7. 7Perils of Perception | 2018 Total 24 2 23 2 USA Britain +21 +31 +22 +18 too high What percentage of women and girls aged 15 to 19 in [Country] do you think give birth each year? % point differencetoo low Please see http://perils.ipsos.com/ for full details of all sources. Huge overestimates of teenage births… 19 Country 1.4 Guess Actual How many of you got it right? 87%... 37 6Argentina
  8. 8. 8Perils of Perception | 2018Perils of Perception | 2018 Why? Vivid, emotional stories we remember…
  9. 9. 9Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception Guarantee you will never see a headline like this…
  10. 10. 10Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception Emotional Innumeracy… Overestimate what we worry about as much as worrying about what we overestimate Cause and effect run in both directions Makes misperceptions useful indicators of what we’re really worried about Vital implications : - can’t just use facts, misdiagnoses cause – partly emotional - ‘myth-busting’ seldom full answer…
  11. 11. 11Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 Hispanic Black Total White 38 34.9 24.2 17.3 We’re useless at spotting slow, positive changes… Trends in birth rates per 1000 females aged 15-19 in US
  12. 12. 12Perils of Perception | 2018Perils of Perception | 2018 We tend to focus on negative information…
  13. 13. 13Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception Experiments showing different images…
  14. 14. 14Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception DON’T remember the dead cat…
  15. 15. 15Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception 80-90% of media coverage of Muslims is negative…
  16. 16. 16Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception 80-90% of media coverage of Muslims is negative…
  17. 17. 17Perils of Perception | 2018 +24 +16 +11 France USA Britain Out of every 100 people, about how many do you think are Muslim? The ‘actual’ data for this question is largely from Pew Research Center. Instances where the ‘actual’ data comes from another source are indicated with an asterisk (*). Please see http://perils.ipsos.com/ for full details of all sources. Massive overestimation of Muslim populations… 16 5 17 1 31 8 too high% point differencetoo lowCountry Guess Actual #PerilsofPerception How many of you got right? 84%...
  18. 18. 18Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception Key implication: Things are mostly not as bad as we think…
  19. 19. 19Perils of Perception | 2018Perils of Perception | 2018 We also tend to think things are getting worse – ‘rosy retrospection’…
  20. 20. 20Perils of Perception | 2018 Do you think the murder rate in your country is higher, lower, or about the same as it was in 2000? Please see http://perils.ipsos.com/ for full details of all sources. Murder rate is down in 25 out of our 30 countries, by 29% on average - BUT only 15% think it’s lower Average 30 countries South Africa USA 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Actual % change -29% -29% -11% Higher About the same Lower DK #PerilsofPerception How many of you got right? 56%...
  21. 21. 21Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception If it bleeds, it leads… ‘Just out report: "United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror." Not good, we must keep America safe!’ Donald Trump “Amid” is a word loved by fake news websites, to conflate correlation and causation. UK crime is also up “amid” spread of fidget spinners. Fraser Nelson "The murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years, right? You won’t hear the press saying that.” Donald Trump
  22. 22. 22Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception We edit out the bad from past… mild disappointment when back… But memory grows fonder longer away we get… …from excited anticipation reality of minor niggles while there,
  23. 23. 23Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception Many more examples and effects…
  24. 24. 24Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception Our Misperceptions Index… Index score: 100 = most wrong 100 90 86 78 77 77 76 76 76 72 70 64 53 Italy US France Australia Belgium Canada Spain Poland Great Britain Japan South Korea Germany Sweden 13% of you… 18% of you… 69% of you… We’re much fatter and happier than you think…
  25. 25. 25Perils of Perception | 2018Perils of Perception | 2018 NO sign that any worse than past… BUT online environment threatens our view of reality at new scale… #PerilsofPerception
  26. 26. 26Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception Our online life and reality… Russian Minister of Defence: information is ‘another type of armed forces’ But much, much broader than information disorder or fake news… Twin effects: our own filtering and unseen algorithms… More time on platform = more cash Surveillance is the business model of the internet – but means confirmation bias is its currency
  27. 27. 27Perils of Perception | 2018Perils of Perception | 2018 Is there anything we can do?
  28. 28. 28Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception Hmm, doesn’t look hopeful… Some individual-level approaches:  start with assumption things are getting better  avoid assuming you’re utterly normal…  …or focusing on the extreme  actively unfilter your world I’ve been studying this stuff for about 45 years and I really haven’t improved one bit… Daniel Kahneman
  29. 29. 29Perils of Perception | 2018 #PerilsofPerception We can support a reality-based view of the world… Critical, statistical and news literacy from schools onwards Support fact-checking, systemically, pre-emptively Facts and stories not opposites: use both to explain Huge untapped potential in more meaningful deliberation, using technology and traditional approaches We are NOT automatons, entirely driven by biases and tribal identities, and unwilling to change…
  30. 30. 30Perils of Perception | 2018Perils of Perception | 2018 Thank you #PerilsofPerception perils.ipsos.com #PerilsofPerception

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