People who like to share words of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook after copying them also tend to score low in cognitive tests, the study titled 'On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit' has said.
The study at the University of Waterloo examines how well we're able to detect what they call "pseudo-profound bullshit" — meaning vague, fancy-sounding sentences that are actually meaningless.
"Our results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bullshit. Those more receptive to bullshit are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability – numeracy, verbal and fluid intelligence," said the study's lead researcher Gordon Pennycook, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Waterloo, Ontario.
"(They) 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," Pennycook wrote the journal, Judgment and Decision Making.
Researchers asked 845 volunteers to evaluate a series of 'inspirational' statements and say how profound they thought they were and whether they agreed with them.
Participants were fed randomly-generated quotes from a website and asked to rate the sentences for profundity. The meaningless, but deep-sounding, sentences were then mixed in with tweets from Indian-American author and public speaker Deepak Chopra's Twitter account, and later mundane, but true statements and popular aphorisms.
The researchers explain that Chopra has been accused of furthering "woo-woo nonsense" in the past.


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