SPRINGFIELD - Could it be that false promises and misleading politicians are making Illinoisans ill? Ridiculous, you may say, but could it be? A new study says cynicism appears to be linked to dementia.
Let's say a politician is running for office and he promises to oppose higher taxes or uphold principles with which you agree, and when he gets in office, he ignores those promises?
For example, suppose four years ago Illinois voters were told that a 67% tax hike would only be for four years, and then the rate would go back to its original amount. But then, when that four years ran out, those same politicians changed their minds and decided to make the temporary tax permanent.
Of course it's an outrageous scenario, but let's play it out, just to show a point. In this case, the tax hike stays at the higher rate, and people know they were lied to. They get burned.
Indeed, getting burned always leads to more intensive questions, doubts and lack of trust of those politicans that said one thing in 2011, and another later. Cynicism sets in. And according to a new study, cynicism is linked to dementia.
A Finnish research team studied 622 people aged 65 to 79 for as long as 10 years. They took a battery of tests, including a well-validated test to show cynicism.
People who scored high on the cynicism test were more likely to develop dementia later. Of the 164 people with high levels of cynicism, 14 developed dementia. That’s 8 percent. Only nine out of 212 people with low levels of cynicism did or 4 percent.
The more cynical, the more likely to develop dementia - how vulnerable does that make Illinois voters? How responsible are crooked politicians for potentially burdening the health care system?
So let's say those same people lived in a state where politicians were honest, forthright and trustworthy. Think the cynicism and dementia rate would be affected?
Here's a Cynical Distrust Scale test to see whether you're cynical - and if counseling or therapy would be a good thing for you to consider.
Score 3 points if you completely agree with a statement, 2 points if you somewhat agree, 1 point if you somewhat agree and 0 points if you completely disagree. The higher the score, the more cynical your personality.
- I think most people would lie to get ahead.
- Most people are honest chiefly through fear of being caught.
- Most people will use somewhat unfair reasons to gain profit or an advantage rather than lose it.
- I commonly wonder what hidden reasons another person may have for doing something nice to me.
- No one cares much what happens to you.
- It is safer to trust nobody.
- Most people make friends because friends are likely to be useful to them.
- Most people inwardly dislike putting themselves out to help other people.