A new study – issued by the University of Bath’s School of Management – has caused an almighty storm this week. It was concluded that, on average, Brexit voters have ‘lower cognitive abilities’ than those who supported the Remain campaign during the 2016 referendum.
Remainers find a sight for sore eyes in new Brexit research
The results reveal that, from the 6,000 people surveyed with the lowest cognitive ability, only 40% voted Remain. On the flipside, 73% of the cohort with the highest cognitive ability backed Remain. Chris Dawson, the lead author of this paper, has since summarised the data.
“This study adds to existing academic evidence showing that low cognitive ability makes people more susceptible to misinformation and disinformation.”
“Evidence has been put forward that information proliferated on social media platforms and provided to the public in the months leading up to the referendum was contradictory, false and often fraudulent, especially regarding the Brexit campaign.”| Chris Dawson
Author of controversial Brexit paper confirms voters ‘were misled’
Being the figurehead of this research, Dawson has certainly encountered much of the backlash associated with its findings. As expected, the Brexit crowd – already fed up of experts, no doubt – have not taken kindly to his blunt, yet scientifically sound words.
He was interviewed by LBC earlier this week, and was asked whether he regretted his decision to go public with the paper. However, Dawson showed no ‘Bregret’ of his own, and doubled-down on the conclusions that his contentious work has drawn.
“I haven’t followed it all, but yes, half of people are happy and half are upset. I was actually writing another paper on cognition and decision-making, and there were questions in there about who people voted for in the referendum.”
“There’s an idea simmering that Leave voters were misled. So we had a look, and yes, there was a clear relationship there. So I wrote the paper. I understand the backlash, but I ask people to please read through the academic article – however boring it may be!” | Chris Dawson
Remain voters ‘mostly have higher cognitive abilities’ than Leave voters
The controversial research has already sparked a wave of debate across the country, as voters in both camps attempt to reconcile with the findings. Skills such as verbal fluency, fluid reasoning, and strength of memory showed a correlation on each side.
- You can watch a clip of Dawson’s appearance on LBC here: