Random Posts

Thursday, February 4, 2016

How To Sound Like a Profound Thinker

     Beauty requires exploration.
     As you dream, you will enter into infinite wonder that transcends understanding. 
     The secret of the universe gives rise to a symphony of self-knowledge. 
     This life is nothing short of an ennobling oasis of self-aware faith. 


    A Canadian study from the University of Waterloo suggests that people guilty of posting quotes like those above on Facebook are probably not very smart. The research, titled On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bull****, asserts that there is a correlation between low intelligence and being easily impressed by what looks like a profound statement. 
     The study was conducted by Gordon Pennycock whose research is focused on dual-process theories of reasoning and decision-making. In the study they found some people are receptive to these nonsensical statements. 
     Approximately 300 subjects were presented the various statements that included such random statements and they were asked to rate their profoundness on a scale of one to five. The participants were asked to classify each quote as “profound,” “bullshit” or “mundane.” Cognitive ability and personality tests were also administered to the subjects. 
     The researchers found that individuals who were unable to discern a fake statement and rated them as profound were less intelligent and unlikely to engage in reflective thinking. They were also more vulnerable to ontological confusions (ontology refers to the subject of existence) and conspiracy theories and more likely to hold certain religious or paranormal beliefs. Such people usually found random computer generated “New Age poppycock” such as the above introductory statements to be quite profound. 
     You know the type...you see a lot of them on Facebook. They run across fake stories or images on the Internet and post them on Facebook. More often than not, what they don't realize is that many times these images have been circulating on the Internet for years. These are Facebook’s memes...images videos, texts, etc. that are copied and spread by users.
     Many of these are simply urban legends, made-up stories or quotations of doubtful origin. Many of them are political in nature and are usually totally false. These political images, quotes and news stories are often nothing more than distorted or made up “facts” and they spread quickly because Facebook users’ friends are generally made up of people similar to themselves and so such posts confirm and strengthen their friends' beliefs. People simply do not check out the facts.  See my posts about fake news sites HERE and HERE.
     I saw one post of President and Mrs. Obama supposedly “disrespecting” the American flag by holding their left hand over their heart. It took about two minutes to find the original photo on Google. The Facebook photo was clearly mirrored and touched up. 
     These are the folks that will be impressed when you quote stuff from the sites maintained by Seb Pearce or Deepak Chopra. On their sites quotes are generated from a list of common buzzwords randomly stuck together in a sentence to create statements with no actual meanings.  All you do is click a button and, apparently according to research, it'll impress a lot of people and make you sound like a philosopher. On the other hand,if they are critical thinkers, you will sound like an idiot.

No comments:

Post a Comment