A scary new study confirms the motivations behind North Americans' willful ignorance.
A study published earlier this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has found a logical reason for the "ignorance is bliss" adage. As it turns out, ignorance is a lovely state to be in—or so the ignorant believe—and those blissfully unaware of the problems related to energy, environmental, and economic issues wish to remain that way.
Steven Shepard of the University of Waterloo in Ontario and co-author Aaron C. Kay of Duke University suggest that "ignorance—as a function of the system justifying tendencies it may activate—may, ironically, breed more ignorance." Shepard and Kay found that ignorance about a certain issue leads to dependence on others, which in turn leads to higher trust in a government, during which a subject actively avoids information about said issue.