From Australasia’s ScienceAlert:
A new study has found that people who buy into “pseudo-profound bullsh*t” – the researchers’ words, not ours – are more likely to score on the low side for verbal and fluid intelligence, and are also more likely to believe in conspiracies and endorse alternative medicine.What exactly is pseudo-profound bullsh*t, you might ask? In the context of this study, it’s defined as statements that sound super deep but actually make very little sense – you know, the kind that one friend is always sharing on Facebook. For example: “Wellbeing requires exploration. To traverse the mission is to become one with it,” and “Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract.”
“Although this statement may seem to convey some sort of potentially profound meaning, it is merely a collection of buzzwords put together randomly in a sentence that retains syntactic structure,” the researchers write in the journal Judgement and Decision Making.
It probably comes as no surprise that this kind of bullsh*t is everywhere these days, particularly when it comes to the Internet. But very little research has gone into why some people are so responsive to these types of statements, and so PhD student Gordon Pennycook and a team of researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada have published what they believe is the first study to “empirically investigate” bullsh*t. … More.
Reality check: Yes, I thought it was an Onion too. Apparently not.
The trouble is, pseudo-profundities are increasingly emitted by persons in high office, and it is dangerous to disbelieve them openly. Smarter to feign stupidity and claim to believe.
We may need more sophisticated research to figure out who is just pretending to be that dumb.
See also: Devolution: Is average IQ dropping?
Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose