Turkers a bit more knowledgable than the rest of the world…

…when it comes to recognizing names of US Presidents. I’m guessing this is because Turkers are a bit higher educated than the general population. I do wonder if the ‘votes’ for Hamilton for President are due to broad awareness of the name based on the Bway musical or the US Currency  (because why would someone write a musical for the first Secretary of the Treasury?).  This study gives us the scoop:

Studies over the past 40 years show that Americans can recall about half the U.S. presidents. Do people know the presidents but are simply unable to access them for recall? We asked this question using the powerful cues of a recognition test. We tested 326 MTurk subjects on their ability to recognize U.S. presidents when presented with their full names among various types of lures. The hit rate for presidential recognition was .88, well above recall but far from perfect. Franklin Pierce and Chester Arthur were recognized less than 60% of the time. Interestingly, 4 nonpresidents were falsely recognized at relatively high rates, and Alexander Hamilton was more frequently identified as president than several actual presidents. Even on a recognition test, knowledge of American presidents is imperfect and prone to error. The false alarm data support the theory that false fame can arise from contextual familiarity.”

Citation: Roediger, Henry L. and DeSoto, K. Andrew, Recognizing the Presidents: Was Alexander Hamilton President? (February 8, 2016). Psychological Science, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2715690

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