People who often post ‘inspirational quotes’ on social media are less intelligent – Study

  • A study suggests that people who are receptive to the idea of so-called inspirational wisdom have lower intelligence
  • The study mainly  used New Age guru Deepak Chopra’s words of wisdom
  • The paper, however, is littered with a swearword which is quite unusual for a study of scientific nature

In a study titled “On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound b**ls**t” led by Gordon Pennycook, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Waterloo, it was disclosed that people who often share ‘words of wisdom’ and are receptive to such literary, such as those from inspirational and New Age guru Deepak Chopra, tend to score low in cognitive tests.

These people, the study further suggests, are normally gullible to paranormal stories, are holding religious beliefs and are easily convinced by conspiracy theories.

“Although bulls**t 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,” wrote Pennycook in a related journal Judgment and Decision Making.

‘Pseudo-profound b*****ts” Pennycook referred to in the study are actually vague sentences that are playing with fancy-sounding words that mesmerizes readers, but are generally meaningless.

Taken as an example are Chopra’s “nature is a self-regulating ecosystem of awareness” and “in the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you”.

The study was conducted among 845 volunteers across four experiments (which is a relatively low sampling to claim such an outrageous conclusion, some commenters say) wherein researchers asked participants about how profound those statements are to them, and whether they agree or believe in those ‘wisdom’.

“Our results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of b*****t. Those more receptive to b*****t are more prone to ontological confusions and conspiratorial ideation, are more likely to hold religious and paranormal beliefs, are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability – numeracy, verbal and fluid intelligence,” the study said.

While the ‘scientific’ study appears to be unusual, specifically for its use of the swearword b*****t several times in the paper – more than 200, the researchers assured the results is valid and reliable.

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