The Terrible Results from the Gapminder Misconception Study 2017

Why do humans score worse than chimpanzees

when it comes to global facts?

We tested the level of global knowledge in 14 countries by asking 12 fact questions about the state of the world to the general public in online panels. Every question had three alternative choices: A, B or C. Chimpanzees picking answers randomly would get one third correct, on average.

The average chimpanzees would get 4 correct answers out of 12, while the average human got only 2.2(!) out of 12 in our polls.

(The surveys were commissioned to Novus and Ipsos MORI, who tested knowledge in online panels with representative samples of the general public as described here: Polling method.)

This graph shows how many people got different scores. Nobody got all 12 questions right! One person (in Sweden) got 11 out of twelve. No more than 10% scored better than random. How is it even possible?

More results soon

We started publishing these results on the first of April (April Fools Day) which we just declared International Ignorance Day. We will keep publishing detailed results here below, during the coming weeks. Please stay tuned by following us on Twitter and  Facebook where we will announce every update. Or get the book Factfulness where we analyse this in depth.

Please give us feedback in the Gapminder fact question forum.

(These are the same 13 questions you find in the book Factfulness. If you haven’t already done so, please take the Gapminder Test yourself before laughing at others! We strongly recommend humility and curiosity when it comes to solving this massive problem of global ignorance. (There was actually one question, number 13, where almost everyone (87% of respondents) picked the right answer. We have excluded that question, because what we measure is knowledge gaps. We’ll add more about that later.))


Date Posted: 2018-03-31