Do you like posting inspirational quotes on Facebook — hoping to inspire yourself and others on your timeline? Do you like sending a few of them to your WhatsApp buddies? Or maybe on Twitter.
Then, this post is for YOU.
In a study titled On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit , published by PhD candidates, professors and associate professors of the University of Waterloo, after certain examinations they have found out that people who randomly share motivational quotes on Facebook and Twitter happen to have a lower intelligence level.
As mentioned in the study, the examiners had gathered some volunteers where they were asked to rank a series of ‘psuedo-profound’ statements on a scale of 1 to 5. What the volunteers did not know was that, one of the examiners had used a random website that generates phrases, or as the study mentioned, they were a collection of buzzwords randomly put together in a sentence that retains syntactic structure.
On the second test, participants were given real life quotes. Another test also included a personality test. In a general discussion by Gordon Pennycook, James Allan Cheyne, Nathaniel Barr, Derek J. Koehler and Jonathan A. Fugelsang ( the examiners of this study) the following conclusion was made.
“Those more receptive to bullshit are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability (i.e., verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy), are more prone to ontological confusions and conspiratorial ideation, are more likely to hold religious and paranormal beliefs, and are more likely to endorse complementary and alternative medicine. Finally, we introduced a measure of pseudo-profound bullshit sensitivity by computing a difference score between profundity ratings for pseudo-profound bullshit and legitimately meaningful motivational quotations.”
“This measure was related to analytic cognitive style and paranormal skepticism. However, there was no association between bullshit sensitivity and either conspiratorial ideation or acceptance of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Nonetheless, our findings are consistent with the idea that the tendency to rate vague, meaningless statements as profound (i.e., pseudo profound bullshit receptivity) is a legitimate psychological phenomenon that is consistently related to at least some variables of theoretical interest.”
( Feature image source: Reuters)