Believing pseudo-profundities is a sign of low intelligence?

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

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    Word salad.

  • Stupid people are stupid. Well carry me home to die! Let’s fund this shit research.

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      We must quantify the stupidity!
      One thing I find odd is the amount of ostensibly non-stupid people that fall for this.
      I see this a lot in the soft sciences, and although your average sociology professor might be a bit less-smart than your typical mathematician, they are still well above average.

      • El Martyachi

        It’s fucking willfull, most of the time. Kill em all and let God sort it out.

      • Maggat

        Shiny pony has been spouting that sort of verbal crap since he came on scene.

      • Frances

        Is said sociology professor really well above average, or has he/she merely enough native cunning to navigate the system and get the degree/job/tenure?

  • dagawker

    They speak as if this is some sort of profound statement? 😉

    • Drunk_by_Noon

      Have you seen Cherry 2000?
      That reminded me of that.

  • Mal

    Or, as good old Rob Petrie once put it in a memorable exchange with another “intellectual”…
    Intellectual: He has the gift and the ability to say things that, uh, uh…
    Rob Petrie: … seem vague but are in reality meaningless.
    Intellectual: Ah, yes!

  • BillyHW

    I could have told you that without a study.