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Tech journalist since the dark ages. Windows Secrets, LangaList newsletter, Windows Magazine (NetGuide, Home PC), Byte, Popular Computing, yadda yadda yadda. Google me, if it matters.

This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Formal study (not a joke) finds that lots of people think complete nonsense is actually profound

Researchers used sample outputs from two sites that string together profound-sounding words in random order.

A quarter of the 280 participants in one experiment rated the randomly generated sentences from Wisdom of Chopra (site http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/) and the New Age Bullshit Generator (http://sebpearce.com/bullshit/) as a 3 or higher on the 5-point profundity scale, indicating that they found them pretty meaningful. "These results indicate that our participants largely failed to detect that the statements are bullshit," the researchers write.

This may be the result of a lack of critical thinking. Those who are particularly receptive to bullshit, the researchers found, tend to show lower cognitive abilities (like verbal intelligence); are less reflective; more prone to conspiracy theories; more likely to subscribe to religion and belief in the paranormal; and more likely to be a fan of alternative medicine.


New Age Bullshit Generator