YouGov is an international data and research organization based in London. It conducted a survey among Americans to determine if they are smarter than Joe Biden or a bag full of rocks.
Perception can be formed through observation. With most people, if they “see” it, they believe it. However, perception does not reflect reality. Modern Americans “see” something on TV or the internet, and believe that whatever “that” might be is a reflection of reality, because they generally spend too much time in front of a screen.
Reality and perception are rarely in sync.
Consider TV commercials. If aliens tapped into TV feeds, they’d be left with the perception that the majority, or a significant minority, of couples are interracial. They aren’t. The current amount is about 10 percent, but adverts selling products from cars to deodorant would leave you with a perception that maybe 60 percent of couples are interracial.
The shift in color in ads has been from predominantly white actors to mostly black since 2019. The overrepresentation in ads of whites was a reminder to companies, who responded with an enormous overpayment. Blacks make up about 13% of the total population. Yet, TV commercials feature more Black actors than any other demographic. How many Black Americans live in America, do you think? Forty-one percent.
Some reading this will cry “white fragility!” “Racist!.” But the perception of Blacks of their demographic size blows that up. Blacks believed their population was 52%. Perhaps they are more interested in TV ads. Nope. No.
This is the conclusion of the study
…[n]On-Black Americans believe that the percentage is around 39%. This figure is closer to the actual number of 12%. The 40% figure is based on first-generation immigrants, according to our survey. However, non-immigrants believe it might be closer at 31%. This would make the total number of immigrants in America close to 14%.
I don’t watch TV for much beyond research and sports – but my wife watches for entertainment. I’ve noticed a couple of things, when my wife wants me to ‘join’ her. Statisticians don’t know how many gay actors are in TV and movie movies, but there is a lot more diversity among Muslims. It is difficult to determine if the characters in movies and TV shows are gay. The plotlines require, in fact, that viewers are told.
How about Muslims? Headscarves. Well, that’s bigoted – lots of women wear scarves. Nope. I’ve asked my wife. “Is that character Muslim”? It is: The answer is always yes. Reality is quite differentAccording to the US, less than one per cent of Muslims live in America. Americans believe or consider the following percentages. Twenty-seven percent.
My wife was on Monday watching a television show. It was a crime drama, and a character was transgender – I think. I don’t know what the person was, but they were dressed like a drag queen
But I’m not a biologist. I didn’t have to ask, because shows make it abundantly clear. How high do Americans believe the number of transgenders is? In reality, it’s well under one percent. Americans put the figure at 21 percent.
These large numbers can be dangerous enough. But there is plenty to go around. How is it that Americans are so terrible at changing perceptions? The survey is wrong. Survey results show that 77% believe they have read at most one book over the past 12 months. According to the survey, this number stands at 50 percent. I think it’s lower, because I have a preconception that most people are not terribly well-informed or curious.
Author tries to explain
When a person’s lived experience suggests an extreme value — such as a small proportion of people who are Jewish or a large proportion of people who are Christian — they often assume, reasonably, that their experiences are biased. In response, they adjust their prior estimate of a group’s size accordingly by shifting it closer to what they perceive to be the mean group size (that is, 50%). This can facilitate misestimation (sic) in surveys, such as ours, which don’t require people to make tradeoffs by constraining the sum of group proportions within a certain category to 100%.
In common-speak, most people aren’t bright, and they will take wild stabs at reality based on perception, rounding the mean.
We are not a smart people, unfortunately — and apparently, our president matches that label. Reality is what you see in this instance.