40% of people choose ignorance to avoid guilt about being selfish

Why are some people not just ignorant but willfully ignorant? It's one thing to be a dumbass — but some people seem to be actively choosing to be a dumbass. This behavioral science study, highlighted in Scientific American, is cleverly designed to get to the bottom of why.

As behavioral scientists, we wanted to understand just how prevalent willful ignorance is—as well as why people engage in it… We discovered that willful ignorance is common and harmful, with 40 percent of people choosing "not to know" the consequences of their actions to free themselves of guilt while maximizing their own gains. But we also found that about 40 percent of people are altruistic: rather than avoiding information about the consequences of their actions, they seek it out to increase the benefits to others.

Seems like some people just want to be selfish and this behavior allows them to avoid that pesky cognitive dissonance and guilt that knowing things can cause.

It's interesting the way they went about determining whether and why people acted selfishly or altruistically. Essentially, it boils down to: some people want to know, others don't. They're curious and they care. Who are these altruistic souls?

…those who sought information out and then made a decision that benefited their partner, even at a cost to themselves. That means information seeking is at least partially motivated by the desire to do right. By the same token, the finding also suggests choosing ignorance has value for people who want an excuse to be selfish.

Neither the article nor the study itself even attempts to draw any political conclusions but of course I can't help myself. Selfish…willfully ignorant…refusing to acknowledge the needs of anyone else… hmmm, what political persuasion does that sound like?

Previously: Jordan Klepper speaks to anti-mask parents at Madison Caldwell`s protest, revealing idiocracy at its finest