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December 03, 2015

Shock: Scientists Find Link Between Appreciation for "Pseudo-Profound, Intellectual-Sounding Bullshit" (Their Word!) and Low IQ

Well, not exactly a shock to anyone, but... I guess this is... useful...?

Well not useful, but amusing?

They built a website which spouted nonsense at people, and asked people to rate this nonsense as to how profound/true they found it. Then they asked the subjects questions, and correlated people's receptiveness for "bullshit" (they used that word exactly 200 times in their paper) to their IQ and embrace of conspiracy theories and alternative medicine.

But what is "bullshit," exactly? Well, this is how they generated what they defined as "bullshit," faux-ponderous nonsense.

As an example, they gave the following 'pseudo-profound' statement: "Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty."

The paper says: "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."

"Bulls***, in contrast to mere nonsense, is something that implies but does not contain adequate meaning or truth."


Pennycook used a website that would randomly generate these pseudo-profound sentences from a string of words.

The website is still active, and serves up wise-sounding aphorisms like "This life is nothing short of an unveiling quantum leap of mythic rejuvenation" and "We are at a crossroads of transformation and desire" at the click of a button.

All of this sounds like Obama and Hillary speeches, don't it?

It also sounds like the bullshit offered by today's quasi-mystics, your Princes of Bullshit like Deepak Chopra.

And that's no coincidence, I'm sure!

Actually, they asked people to differentiate between computer-generated bullshit and real Deepak Choprah quotes; they were unable to tell the difference.

In the second test, the team confronted the participants with real-life exaples of bulls***, asking them to read tweets posted by Deepak Chopra, a writer known for his New Age views on spirituality and medicine, as well as using the computer-generated statements from the first test.

The results in this test were very similar, indicating many participants were unable to spot the bulls***.

I think that's a problem with Choprah, not the participants.


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posted by Ace at 03:35 PM

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