From Statistics to Common Sense

social mathWe frequently work with organizations to help them become better at “social math”—that is, taking their best statistics and facts and converting them into more accessible and tangible nuggets of information. Recently we came across this article from Think Progress that includes a great example of social math. Researchers featured in the article determined that living in poverty has the effect of lowering one’s IQ by 13 points. By itself that figure wouldn’t mean much to most people. That’s why one of the researchers, and the headline writer for TP, converted the message to this: “Poverty Has Same Effect on the Brain as Constantly Pulling All-Nighters.” Statistics are most effective at reframing debates and entering the public consciousness when they are converted into proportions and experiences that people can relate to. This is a great example of that truth.

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