Monday, May 15, 2017

Where's North Korea?

Can you correctly identify the location of North Korea on an unlabeled map? If you can then you are more likely to favor a diplomatic and non-military response to North Korea than someone who can't find it on a map.

The New York Times asked 1,746 people to find North Korea on a map. 36 percent got it right. These same 1,746 people were then asked a series of questions about what sort of measures they would support the USA in carrying out against North Korea. Those who could identify North Korea on a map were more in favor of economic sanctions. To be fair even only 9% of those who couldn't find North Korea on a map supported the idea of an American military response.

A similar experiment was carried out in 2014 asking Americans if they could locate Ukraine on a map of the world. The experiment, carried out by political scientists from Dartmouth College, Harvard University and Princeton University, had similar results. Only one in six Americans could correctly locate Ukraine on a map.

The Americans were also asked a number of questions about how the USA should respond to Russia's invasion of the Crimean peninsula. The further the respondents guess was from the correct location then the more likely they were to support military intervention by the USA.

It appears that geographic literacy makes people more diplomatic and less militaristic.

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