Perils of Perception Ipsos Global Study

Ipsos Global Perils of Perceptions survey 2018 shows that Indians’ perception around some of the key issues is warped and disconnected from reality. The fact that India is placed 12th on the Misperception Index, is a worrying sign. 

Parijat Chakraborty, Country Service Lines Group Leader, Public Affairs, Corporate Reputation & CX Ipsos India sees this as a worry sign: “Misperceptions can be highly damaging as they not only erode the equity but also trigger negative sentiment unnecessarily, as they tend to be far removed from actual reality. Building awareness is extremely crucial to offset second guessing and induced behavior.” 

So, what do Indians get most wrong?

Immigrants: Indians overestimate the number of immigrants per 100 people – average guess is 24% but the reality is much less, under 1% (0.4%). Highly misjudged. Across markets, it is seen that people tend to overestimate the number of immigrants in their country.  

Muslims: Indians tend to overestimate the proportion of Muslims in India. Average guess is 32%, but the reality is 14%. Few markets are way off the mark – South Africa and Belgium for instance – they think that a quarter their population comprises of Muslims; but, it’s 2% and 5% respectively.      

Health – Average number of Indians underestimate that out of every 100 infants aged under 12 months only 58% have been inoculated for World Health Organization recommended vaccinations for Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Polio and Measles. The reality is 88%.

Global warming: We asked Indians to estimate the numbers of years that have been extremely hot for the world in the last 18 years – Indians guessed that at least 10 years had extreme temperature, but the reality was of 17 years.   

Economy – Average Indians underestimate and rank India’s Economy at the 50th spot among 200 countries. The reality is, that India is ranked 7th and is amongst the largest economies of the world.

Population -  We asked Indians to estimate the percentage of Indians who would be aged over 65 years by Circa 2050. The average guess was 49% of the population, while the reality was much lower at 13%. We got it wrong by a glaring 36%! Clearly, our perceptions are misplaced.  

Sex – We highly overestimate the times women aged 18-29 years in India have had sex in the past 4 weeks. Average guess was 27 times (perception), but the reality was 3 times. Likewise, we asked them to guess the number of times men aged 18-29 years had sex in the past 4 weeks. The average guess was 32 times; the reality was much lower of 3 times. There is a huge disconnect between perception and reality. Similar misperception trend was noticed globally and across most markets.

Unemployment – Most Indians overestimate the number of those unemployed - out of every 100 people of working age in India, Indians think 44% are unemployed and looking for work; which is way above reality.

What do Indians get right? Well, almost.


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