Desire for Information: Blissful Ignorance or Painful Truth?

Researchers develop scale that measures people’s willingness to avoid useful information

We live in a time of unprecedented access to information. And in this era of sheltering-in-place around the nation and the globe, the desire for news may be higher than ever — at least for some people. But do we really want all this information, all the time? Some may indeed prefer to think happier thoughts and maintain an (overly) optimistic outlook about the health threat we face. On the other hand, others may prefer not to know what the swings in the market are doing to their retirement savings.

Recent work has found that people at times prefer less information, even when this means they might not be able to make fully informed decisions. However, little is known about the prevalence of such avoidance. Who are the people who choose blissful ignorance over facing reality?

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