Summary of Uninformed

Why People Seem to Know So Little About Politics and What We Can Do About It

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Uninformed book summary
Want to persuade an ideological foe? Forget the policy points and look to biology.


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Political scientist Arthur Lupia’s intriguing study argues that the human brain isn’t really designed to take in new information. It won’t adapt to information that doesn’t comply with its preconceived biases. While you may be tempted to think of the latest partisan discord as new and unusual, it turns out that everyone might be hardwired with some degree of ideological stubbornness. Lupia aims his message at a group he calls “civic educators” – teachers, journalists, religious leaders, and others. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends his manual as a useful guide for communicators, teachers and managers seeking insight into how people learn and listen and what information they will accept or reject in these polarized times.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why information about policy, science and politics overwhelms many people
  • How humans learn,
  • Why attention is a scare resource and
  • What strategies you can use to establish credibility with an audience.


A Flood of Political Facts

The American political system creates a veritable flood of information, laws and rules – an inundation of documents to debate, to understand and – for most people – to ignore. In a typical year, Congress proposes 4,000 bills, 200 of which become law. Each state’s legislature proposes bills and creates laws at a similar clip. Cities pass local ordinances. Federal agencies create rules and regulations at a torrid pace.

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About the Author

Arthur Lupia, a professor of political science at the University of Michigan, chairs the National Research Council Roundtable on the Communication and Use of Social and Behavioral Science. He has written extensively in the field and is the co-author of The Democratic Dilemma.

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