New study suggests you can bullshit some bullshitters - Deepstash

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People Talk A Lot. Yet Say Very Little.

People Talk A Lot. Yet Say Very Little.

According to new research published in The British Journal of Social Psychology , frequency of bullshitting intended to impress or persuade others (i.e., persuasive bullshitting) predicts susceptibility to misleading misinformation, including pseudo-profound bullshit, scientific bullshit, and fake news. 

“We’ve all fallen victim to believing some sort of dumb bullshit at one point or another in our lives. Whether it’s astrology or the latest ridiculous diet or health fad that’s ‘based on science!’ . Some types of bullshit that we fall for are relatively harmless but might make us feel stupid.


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<p>later when we realize we’ve...

later when we realize we’ve been duped. But other types can potentially be more harmful, especially when one’s health is concerned.”

Bullshit receptivity and bullshitting frequency are both negatively associated with cognitive ability and analytic thinking. Thus, it could be the case that individuals who frequently engage in bullshitting are also more likely to fall for bullshit. 

There are two types of bullshitting: 1) attempting to impress, persuade, or fit in with others by stretching or exaggerating the truth (i.e., persuasive bullshitting)


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<p> 2) being evasive when dire...

2) being evasive when direct answers could result in reputational harm for oneself or others (i.e., evasive bullshitting).


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<p>Littrell and colleagues rec...

Littrell and colleagues recruited a total of 826 participants from Canada and the United States. Study 1 explored the extent to which bullshitting frequency was associated with pseudo-profound bullshit, scientific bullshit, and fake news, with each task including a measure of receptivity to relevant non-bullshit (e.g., genuinely profound statements, scientific information, actual news headlines).

Study 2 more closely examined the extent to which bullshitting frequency was associated with bullshit receptivity, specifically pseudo-profound bullshit. It included measures of cognitive ability.


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<p>Lastly, Study 3 experimenta...

Lastly, Study 3 experimentally tested whether the observed association was the product of higher frequency persuasive bullshitters being insensitive to the differences in statements that sound profound and those that actually are profound. One group of participants were instructed to rate items on the bullshit receptivity scale based on how profound they sound , while ignoring how profound they believe the items actually are . The other group received the reverse instructions and were prompted to rate items based on how profound they actually are , while ignoring how profound they sound .


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