Just the Facts: Citizen Issue Comprehension



The author focuses directly on the Big Five’s role in causing individuals’ failure to understand basic facts about important political issues. The chapter looks at individuals’ responses to factual survey questions in five policy areas—(1) food stamps, (2) same-sex marriage, (3) health insurance subsidies, (4) drug testing welfare recipients, and (5) U.S. oil production. As one would expect, partisanship plays an important role in driving incorrect understandings about what is happening in these policy areas. However, partisanship is not the only cause. While a substantial amount of personality research has spent time attempting to draw connections between one or the other Big Five personality traits and political ideology and partisanships, here the author shows that personality does not simply work through its effects on citizens’ partisanship. It has its own independent effect on how people understand political issues, even highly partisan ones.


Personality Trait Emotional Stability Incorrect Answer Food Stamp Welfare Recipient 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political ScienceIndiana University–Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA

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