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Link: Actual questions used to determine if someone is "conspiratorial" Notice that a number of them are historical fact.
originally posted by: eisegesis
Reporting in the journal Judgment and Decision Making, the researchers asked subjects to rate quotes that are philosophical, mundane, or simply BS—the latter consisting, in their words, of "seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous"—on a profundity scale. The team also tested participants' cognitive and reasoning ability. The researchers found that those who are "more receptive" to BS have lower "verbal and fluid intelligence" and are more likely to believe in the paranormal, conspiracy theories, and alternative medicine.
Link to study: PDF
Below is a small excerpt from the University of Waterloo. The abstract is quite groundbreaking in terms of vocabulary and the rest of the study goes on to mention the term over 300 times
"Although bull**** is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its reception (critical or ingenuous) has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation."
In my opinion, BS should never be labelled as such at first glance. It is alright to entertain any idea in the realm of your mind as long as you maintain subjectivity. To label something a certain way forever is unfavorable in a philosophical sense and ignorant at best.
For actual examples of readily propagated BS, Forbes reports PhD candidate Gordon Pennycook and his team turned to the Twitter feed of Deepak Chopra, highlighting tweets such as "Attention and intention are the mechanics of manifestation." The Telegraph reports the researchers also used this website, which composes made-up pseudo-profound statements like this one: "Growth is the richness of life, and of us." The researchers found that participants assigned the website-generated BS and Chopra's tweets similar profoundness ratings.
Below is The Telegraph's title of choice in describing the study. Don't take it personal, lol.
Scientists find link between people impressed by wise-sounding, 'profound' quotes and low intelligence
Essentially, it means grand-sounding statements which mean nothing - many people post such things on Instagram.
"Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty."
Sound familiar to you? Have you accepted this quote as constructive and meaningful to your daily existence? I'd love any member here to take a shot at deciphering that one since I'm not willing to get lost in it's supposed meaning.
The paper said that those who were more receptive to the bulls*** statements and who tended to rate them higher were "less reflective, lower in cognitive ability(i.e verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy,) and are more prone to ontological confusions and conspiratorial ideation."
Before you get jumpy, nobody here is asking you to agree with anything that is being said. I don't even fully side with what the researchers are putting forth, but I do believe that there is a correlation between low intelligence and a persons gullibility to believe something without trying to disprove it's worth. Guess I'm a dick. Or at the very least, trying to provoke discussion.
It also said they were more likely to "hold religious and paranormal beliefs, and are more likely to endorse complementary and alternative medicine."
What a bold statement. There is nothing wrong with exploring alternative solutions to any of life's problems including one's health. Some operate under the supervision of their paid to be ignorant doctor, while some uphold an ignorant perception of conventional treatments.
It goes both ways and the best knowledge you can attain is by exploring both and applying what you think will work best. There is a threshold between allowing something you find questionable to continue and cutting one's losses while investigating alternative solutions.
Its a circular exercise that ends up being a personal choice based off of perception and hopefully, sound research. The goal is to maximize the positive outcomes through your decision making without negatively impacting the well being of others that you come into contact with. The researchers go on to say,
"our findings are consistent with the idea that the tendency to rate vague, meaningless statements as profound is a legitimate psychological phenomenon that is consistently related to at least some variables of theoretical interest."
I believe that translates into "a lot of people can't comprehend what they are reading clearly because they're always coming into conflict with their bias mindset, whether that is fortified by BS or not."
Many might not be aware of the truth when they read or see it and many might never be aware of the truth simply because they believe that it doesn't exist in it's current form.
Some take the low road and believe what they hear based off of how they rate authority figures and their credibility. I've learned to develop my own opinions stressing that you maintain a fair viewpoint on all things uncertain.
As always, stay subjective, question authority and strive to explore your full potential. Don't believe the hype.
“No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”
L. Ron Hubbard — 'You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.'
the "conspiracies" they use in their studies, while implying they are simply conspiracies, if you look at the actual question about ~50% (more or less) are historical fact, so they are outside the realm of simple 'conspiracies' and are absolutely not as the paper describes them (trying to liken 'conspiracy' to 'cookoo'.
the participants were University of Waterloo students, who were simply participating for course credits.
about 35% of participants failed the control question
Those more receptive to BS 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. The Study, p.359