Why do some of us choose to remain ignorant of information that – though perhaps unpleasant – could help us make better informed decisions in the future? In episode 76, Emily Ho from Northwestern University’s Department of Medical Social Sciences discusses her research into why we keep our heads in the sand about important information for a variety of psychological and economic reasons. Her article “Measuring information preferences,” was published on March 13, 2020 with David Hagmann and George Loewenstein in the journal Management Science.



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Hosts / Producers

Ryan Watkins & Doug Leigh

How to Cite

Watkins, R., Leigh, D., & Ho, E.. (2020). Parsing Science – When Ignorance is Bliss. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.12478502 


What’s The Angle? by Shane Ivers


Emily Ho: When real people are faced with a real life decision to obtain really important information, they choose not to get it.

Doug Leigh: This is Parsing Science. The unpublished stories behind the world’s most compelling science as told by the researchers themselves. I’m Doug Leigh.

Ryan Watkins: And I’m Ryan Watkins. Today, in episode 76 Parsing Science, we’ll talk with Emily Ho from Northwestern University’s Department of Medical Social Sciences. She’ll discuss her research into some people’s choice to remain ignorant of formation that, while unpleasant, could help them make better informed decisions in the future. Here’s Emily Ho.

Ho: My name is Emily Ho. I am a PhD student at Fordham, and in the summer, I’ll be joining Northwestern University’s School of Medicine at the Department of Medical Social Sciences as a research assistant professor. I did my undergraduate studies at NYU in downtown Manhattan where I grew up. And sometime in the middle of my undergrad studies I got really interested in the measurement of psychology. All of this psychological phenomenon is kind of swirling around us, and how do we sit down and actually quantify it? You know, if I were to ask you how tall you were it’d be easy to just pull out a ruler and give you a number. But with things that are a bit more abstract – like depression or, you know, how introverted you are – it can be a little harder to do that. And that’s where the field of quantitative psychology comes in. Where people develop models and scales to try to measure precisely things that are maybe not so precise. So I decided to pursue my Graduate Studies at Fordham which, conveniently, is also New York and also has a program in psychometrics and quantitative psychology. And that’s where I am.

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