You probably have that one Facebook friend who posts pseudo-profound, pa-intellectual quotes that make other people think "WTF?" Those quotes are actually bullshit—"something that implies but doesn't contain adequate meaning or truth." And a recent study finds that that friend of yours is pretty stupid.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada, saw that there is a link between low intelligence and being impressed by seemingly deep quotes. The researchers used a website called Sebpearce.com, which generated random statements that're meant to sound profound. Some examples are: "Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty," "This life is nothing short of an ennobling oasis of self-aware faith," and "We are in the midst of a holistic unfolding of curiosity that will give us access to the world itself."
Sure, they might seem to say something (or want to say something), but in reality they're just a bunch of smart-sounding words strung together correctly so that the sentence still has its syntactic structure.
Nearly 300 participants had to rate the depth of the statements on a scale of 1 to 5, identifying if each quote flashed to them is profound, bullshit, or mundane. (Mundane statements like "Newborn babies require constant attention" are the controlled variables to see that participants weren't marking everything as profound.) They were also tested on their cognitive ability and personality, to see how they think about themselves and the world.
And the paper saw that those who thought the BS statements were clever were "less reflective" and had "lower cognitive ability," that is, numeracy and verbal and fluid intelligence. They're also more prone to believing conspiracy theories, having religious and paranormal beliefs, and swearing by alternative medicine. They're also not as reflective as they'd like other people to believe.
But if you had a bullshit radar on you, you probably already knew your Facebook friend isn't very smart. This study just confirmed it.
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