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In what may well be the first-ever paper to evaluate susceptibility to pseudo-profound BS, Gordon Pennycook and colleagues have found that people who are more susceptible to BS score lower for verbal and fluid intelligence, are more prone to “conspiratorial ideation,” and more likely to “endorse complementary and alternative medicine.” Their paper, “On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit,” was published in the journal Judgment and Decision Making.
To reach their conclusions, the authors conducted a series of studies in which they presented participants with sentences that had recognizable English syntax but were simply a series of randomly organized buzzwords. Examples of these pseudo-profound statements include “Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty,” a totally meaningless sentence that appears to be profound because it uses buzzwords like “hidden” and “transforms” and “abstract” and “beauty.” Indeed, rearranging the same words can yield a similarly pseudo-profound statement: “Abstract meaning transforms unparalleled hidden beauty.”
In addition to looking into what makes people susceptible to finding BS statements profound, the authors also looked at what factors make others have hypersensitive BS detectors, or the cognitive measures that “inoculate against bullshit,” as they put it. To measure this feature, they looked at factors associated with those who rated legitimate quotations as far more profound than pseudo-profound BS. Those folks were more likely to have an analytic cognitive style and be skeptical about paranormal phenomena.
Read full, original post: Why Do Some People Find Deepak Chopra Quotes Deep And Not Dung?