Town Square

Post a New Topic

Harry Potter Readers Show Advanced Cognitive and Argumentative Skills

Original post made by Zoilo Versailles, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Aug 18, 2013

“Harry Potter” fans already have in common their ability to rattle off obscure trivia like character Ron Weasley’s favorite Quidditch team or the address of protagonist Harry’s cruel aunt and uncle.

But it turns out they may share something more substantial as well: political views.

According to a book by University of Vermont professor Anthony Gierzynski titled “Harry Potter and the Millennials,” college-age Potter fans share similar political stances. They are “more open to diversity; politically tolerant; less authoritarian; less likely to support the use of deadly force or torture; [and] more politically active,” according to University of Vermont writer Jon C. Reidel.

They also have similar tastes in politicians, with 83 percent of respondents saying they disliked the George W. Bush administration and about 60 percent stating that they voted for Barack Obama during his first election.

Gierzynski states that Harry Potter readers have been exposed to and acquired several advanced cognitive skills earlier than prior generations, which has left them with better thinking and argumentative abilities. "This explains why they lean to the left, politically. If you look at the right wing these days, one sees lots of hand waving but little that is grounded in careful thought or that can be defended in and through rational argumentation."

Comments (5)

Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Aug 19, 2013 at 10:38 am

Since 66% of voters aged 18-29 voted for Obama in 2008, then one should conclude these Harry Potter readers (60% voted for Obama) are slightly more conservative than their peers. Or as the author of the book writes "the struggles of the wizarding world against Voldemort did indeed play an important role in the political development of many Millennials".

Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Aug 19, 2013 at 10:45 am

And Zoilo, plagiarizing other's work is not cool.

Posted by Zoilo Versailles
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2013 at 11:10 am

Can't agree with your math, Dark. 60% of those polled is really much higher than your 66% figure when you calculate the nonvoters that are included in the first number. So, for example, say 30% of respondents didn't vote at all (a conservative estimate) in the presidential election. The 60% then would jump to 85+% among those who voted.

My hunch is that, unlike yourself, most Harry Potter readers would quickly have scoped out your erroneous math claim and invalid conclusion pretty quickly. Back to the importance of math, analytical reasoning, and rational argument. In a word, Harry Potter readers ROCK.

Posted by Dark Corners of Town
a resident of Country Fair
on Aug 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Zoilo - The problem with plagiarizing Molly Driscoll's work, is that you inherited her flawed reporting (misreading?) of Jon C. Reidel's review of Professor Gierzynski's book. Of the 1,100 anonymous student surveys, 35% read all seven HP books. "About 60% of those who read all of the books said they voted for Obama in 2008". I don't know if Professor Gierzynski kept or removed non-voters in that statistic. Since I haven't read the book, and the margin of error is high, I withdraw my suggestion of conclusion. You might consider withdrawing your plagiarism.

Posted by Zoillo Versailles
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff.)

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Premiere! “I Do I Don’t: How to build a better marriage” – Here, a page/weekday
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,586 views

Community foundations want to help local journalism survive
By Tim Hunt | 20 comments | 1,174 views


Support local families in need

Your contribution to the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund will go directly to nonprofits supporting local families and children in need. Last year, Pleasanton Weekly readers contributed over $83,000 to support eight safety-net nonprofits right here in the Tri-Valley.