J. A. Duñabeitia / J. A. Hinojosa / R. Boada Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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how Much do we know? What is the general culture? What socio-economic variables determine a person to have a higher level of knowledge? These are the big questions they want to answer dozens of cognitive scientists who study the concept of culture in general, and that is precisely the basis of the project “ The Big Question ”.

it Is oriented to investigate what is the knowledge sharing by the different communities and what are the factors that modulate the level of knowledge.

Map of the culture in Spain

Thanks to the data collected in the project will be able to map a scientifically robust knowledge sharing that will constitute for the first time the foundations of the general culture in Spain.

But, what is the level of general culture of the different territories of Spain? What it depends on? The project is presented as a quiz competition of general knowledge on the different categories in which each player gets to test their level of general culture.

There are 37 different categories that address thematic areas, such as zoology, astronomy, inventions and discoveries, architecture, or mythology and folklore, among others. The platform draws from a list of 1,300 questions, and, after completing a short questionnaire on socio-demographic data basic, each player is presented with a random selection of 60 questions each time you go to play a game.

You have completed more than 36,000 items

In the first two weeks since the launch of the platform, have already been completed more than 36,000 items, with players from all the autonomous communities. For the moment, the average score on the test at the state level is still 60%, with some differences between communities.

Average of scores for autonomous community – The Big Question

On the platform itself, it is possible to query a map with the mean of the scores obtained in all rounds carried out in each autonomous community. Once you have applied the procedure of data cleaning, the provisional data show an unequal distribution between territories, despite the fact that these differences never exceed 5%.

The average of hits per autonomous community is going from 57% to 62%. Above the average, we find Galicia, Castilla y León, Principado de Asturias, La Rioja, Aragón, Comunidad de Madrid, País Vasco, Cantabria and the Valencian Community. The communities that have been successful less questions that the media up until now have been Extremadura, Region of Murcia, Balearic Islands, Comunidad Foral de Navarra, Andalucía, Castilla-La Mancha, the Canary islands and Catalonia.

we must Not forget that these data are provisional, since the platform just launched. Despite the large number of data collected so far, it is necessary for more people to participate in the study, especially in the territories where there have been fewer games in relation to its population.

So, in the Canary islands, Balearic Islands, Valencian Community and Castilla-La Mancha have participated less than three people per every 10 000 inhabitants, while Comunidad de Madrid, Comunidad Foral de Navarra and Aragon have doubled and even tripled this number. To overcome the 50,000 games played on the platform would help to have a sample more representative of the Spanish society.

The science and the questions of the Trivial

The history of the databases on general culture is much more recent and limited than some might think. In the early 80s, Nelson and Narens noted that there was no database that define what facts were likely to be considered general culture, or if data were more difficult to remember than others.

They themselves drew up a list of 300 questions that were derived from books, atlas, colleagues, friends, and other sources of information that they considered relevant. Students from two u.s. universities have responded to these questions and collected different measures cognitive and metacognitive. During the following decades, these questions were used in a lot of research in cognitive science.

however, and as is normal with the passing of time, this compendium of facts and data that were very relevant or important in the decade of the 80 were changing, losing relevance or winning it. The society advances and changes, and with it cultural knowledge relevant to each historical context.

This made in the year 2013 a group of scientists decided to review the original set of questions and see how he had evolved over the last three decades.

they Administered the questions with a few changes to nearly 700 students from different universities and, although there were some changes between the overall knowledge demonstrated in both experiments (for example, in 1980 only 7% of the sample knew that Baghdad was the capital of Iraq, and in 2013 this figure increased up to 47%), the authors concluded that the set was still valid.

More recently, and in order to explore if the results of the tests to north american could be generalized to Spain, a team of Spanish scientists decided to test the knowledge of nearly 300 participants of the two universities. When they analyzed the consistency in the answers given to the same questions by students from different countries, they found a very high correlation between the two groups, indicating a great stability of intercultural.

however, there were also differences in some aspects of knowledge between the americans and the Spanish (for example, 97% of the Spanish sample knew that Venice is the name of the Italian city most widely known for its channels, compared to 46% of the sample north american).

All of these studies, and others similar in various countries, have led to a very restricted number of questions. In addition, generally these studies have focused on a university population of young adults, which can hardly be representative of society as a whole.

But today, thanks to the new technologies and the use of the internet, and in the wake of large-scale projects have allowed the collection of data from hundreds of thousands of people, “The Big Question” is allowing the scientists to create the database more current and complete information about facts and general culture, thus creating a Trivial Pursuit of national dimensions and with scientific basis.

general Knowledge and intelligence

there is scientific consensus with respect to issues such as if the general knowledge is part of a kind of intelligence, or if it is an indicator or a measure of it.

Some intelligence tests have sections of general knowledge, and many authors contend that this knowledge would be equivalent or belong to the intelligence crystallized, that is to say, to what we already know (the facts, data and the experiences acquired and stored over the years).

Others argue that their relationship is more with the reasoning and working memory, aspects of these are more closely related to fluid intelligence, which refers to the mental ability to apply reasoning and logic to different and new situations that will take us to acquire new knowledge.

Be that as it may, it should be noted that there are authors who suggest that the results of a possible test of general knowledge sufficiently up to date, relevant to the participants and duly psicometrizado, could be considered as a representative value quite reasonable intelligence.

The general knowledge is highly relevant and informative in the face of expectations of future social and working. It is absolutely necessary to arrive at a clear description of what is this general knowledge, what it covers, and what variables are those that modulate.

In a changing world with a strong global and cross-cultural, advances will come from the hand of projects that promote the knowledge, culture and scientific collaboration. With this philosophy was born, “The Big Question”.

“ The Big Question” is a research project conceived and coordinated by Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, director of the Center for Cognitive Science (C3) of the University Nebrija, which also involved teams of researchers from the Complutense University of Madrid (José Antonio Hinojosa) and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Pilar Ferré, Marc Guasch, Roger Boada and Antonio Masip), in the framework of the research program SAPIENTIA-CM, funded by the Community of Madrid.

Jon Andoni Duñabeitia is Director of the Center for Cognitive Science of the Faculty of Languages and Education, Universidad Nebrija

Jose Antonio Hinojosa Poveda is a Professor of University, Cognitive Neuroscience and Affective, Complutense university of Madrid

Roger Boada Navarro is Associate Professor and Research Technician, Psychology, Universitat Rovira i Virgili

This article was originally published on The Conversation