Scientists find a link between low intelligence and acceptan

What is the mind? What is the mind of a human? What is the mind of the one who investigates the human? Can the human mind understand itself? Can a human mind understand the mind of an other? This is psychology.

Scientists find a link between low intelligence and acceptan

Postby admin » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:11 pm

Scientists find a link between low intelligence and acceptance of 'pseudo-profound bulls***': Those who are impressed by wise-sounding quotes are also more likely to believe in conspiracy theories and the paranormal
by Doug Bolton @DougieBolton
The Independent Online
Wednesday 2 December 2015 17:12 GMT

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Those who are more receptive to pseudo-profound new-age statements are more likely to have lower intelligence and a greater faith in alternative medicine, the study found John Minihan/Express/Getty Images
A new scientific study has found that those who are receptive to pseudo-profound, intellectual-sounding 'bulls***' are less intelligent, less reflective, and more likely to be believe in conspiracy theories, the paranormal and alternative medicine.

PhD candidate Gordon Pennycook and a team of researchers from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, tested hundreds of participants to make the link, detailing their findings in a paper entitled 'On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bulls***', which mentions the word 'bulls***' exactly 200 times (surely some sort of record).

Defining bulls*** is a tricky task, but Pennycook and his team tried their best in the paper.

As an example, they gave the following 'pseudo-profound' statement: "Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty."

The paper says: "Although this statement may seem to convey some sort of potentially profound meaning, it is merely a collection of buzzwords put together randomly in a sentence that retains syntactic structure."

"Bulls***, in contrast to mere nonsense, is something that implies but does not contain adequate meaning or truth."

Gordon Pennycook
@GordPennycook
New paper on the psychology of bullshit http://journal.sjdm.org/15/15923a/jdm15923a.pdf … Open access! we only used the term "bullshit" ~200 times...
7:50 AM - Nov 30, 2015


Pennycook used a website that would randomly generate these pseudo-profound sentences from a string of words.

The website is still active, and serves up wise-sounding aphorisms like "This life is nothing short of an unveiling quantum leap of mythic rejuvenation" and "We are at a crossroads of transformation and desire" at the click of a button.

Almost 300 test subjects were asked to rate the profundity of these sentences on a scale of one to five.

@DeepakChopra
The Divine Within
Divine feelings like love compassion joy and equanimity are not dependent on external circumstances. They are the qualities of our soul.
4:16 PM - Dec 1, 2015


The mean profoundness rating was 2.6, indicating the quotes were generally seen as between 'somewhat profound' and 'fairly profound'. Around 27 per cent of participants gave an average score of three or more, gowever, suggesting they thought the sentences were profound or very profound.

In the second test, the team confronted the participants with real-life examples of bulls***, asking them to read tweets posted by Deepak Chopra, a writer known for his New Age views on spirituality and medicine, as well as using the computer-generated statements from the first test.

The results in this test were very similar, indicating many participants were unable to spot the bulls***.

In the final two tests, participants read mundane statements, like "newborn babies require constant attention" and well-known, 'truly' profound quotes like "a wet person does not fear the rain" as controls, just to check that participants weren't labelling everything as profound.

As expected, most participants labelled the mundane statements as 'not profound', and tended to rate the well-known profound statements highly.

Alongside these tests, the researchers looked into a number of other personality traits, examining how the participants think about themselves and the world around them.

In a fairly damning passage from the paper, it says 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."

It also said they were more likely to "hold religious and paranormal beliefs, and are more likely to endorse complementary and alternative medicine."

As they 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."

Through the rise of instant communication and the internet, people are exposed to this kind of 'pseudo-profound bulls***' now more than ever.

It's fun to read a real scientific paper than says 'bulls***' 200 times, but it's also important to be more aware and able to detect wise-sounding nonsense when we hear it - it could stop us from falling into the trap of irrational thinking.
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Re: Scientists find a link between low intelligence and acce

Postby admin » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:14 pm

Study delivers bleak verdict on validity of psychology experiment results: Of 100 studies published in top-ranking journals in 2008, 75% of social psychology experiments and half of cognitive studies failed the replication test
Psychology experiments are failing the replication test – for good reason
by Ian Sample @iansample, Science editor
Thu 27 Aug 2015 14.00 EDT Last modified on Wed 14 Feb 2018 16.22 EST

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A major investigation into scores of claims made in psychology research journals has delivered a bleak verdict on the state of the science.

An international team of experts repeated 100 experiments published in top psychology journals and found that they could reproduce only 36% of original findings.

The study, which saw 270 scientists repeat experiments on five continents, was launched by psychologists in the US in response to rising concerns over the reliability of psychology research.

“There is no doubt that I would have loved for the effects to be more reproducible,” said Brian Nosek, a professor of psychology who led the study at the University of Virgina. “I am disappointed, in the sense that I think we can do better.”

“The key caution that an average reader should take away is any one study is not going to be the last word,” he added. “Science is a process of uncertainty reduction, and no one study is almost ever a definitive result on its own.”

All of the experiments the scientists repeated appeared in top ranking journals in 2008 and fell into two broad categories, namely cognitive and social psychology. Cognitive psychology is concerned with basic operations of the mind, and studies tend to look at areas such as perception, attention and memory. Social psychology looks at more social issues, such as self esteem, identity, prejudice and how people interact.

In the investigation, a whopping 75% of the social psychology experiments were not replicated, meaning that the originally reported findings vanished when other scientists repeated the experiments. Half of the cognitive psychology studies failed the same test. Details are published in the journal Science.

Even when scientists could replicate original findings, the sizes of the effects they found were on average half as big as reported first time around. That could be due to scientists leaving out data that undermined their hypotheses, and by journals accepting only the strongest claims for publication.


Despite the grim findings, Nosek said the results presented an opportunity to understand and fix the problem. “Scepticism is a core part of science and we need to embrace it. If the evidence is tentative, you should be sceptical of your evidence. We should be our own worst critics,” he told the Guardian. One initiative now underway calls for psychologists to submit their research questions and proposed methods to probe them for review before they start their experiments.

John Ioannidis, professor of health research and policy at Stanford University, said the study was impressive and that its results had been eagerly awaited by the scientific community. “Sadly, the picture it paints - a 64% failure rate even among papers published in the best journals in the field - is not very nice about the current status of psychological science in general, and for fields like social psychology it is just devastating,” he said.

But he urged people to focus on the positives. The results, he hopes, will improve research practices in psychology and across the sciences more generally, where similar problems of reproducibility have been found before. In 2005, Ioannidis published a seminal study that explained why most published research findings are false.

Marcus Munafo, a co-author on the study and professor of psychology at Bristol University, said: “I think it’s a problem across the board, because wherever people have looked, they have found similar issues.” In 2013, he published a report with Ioannidis that found serious statistical weaknesses were common in neuroscience studies.

Nosek’s study is unlikely to boost morale among psychologists, but the findings simply reflect how science works. In trying to understand how the world works, scientists must ask important questions and take risks in finding ways to try and answer them. Missteps are inevitable if scientists are not being complacent. As Alan Kraut at the Association for Psychological Science puts it: “The only finding that will replicate 100% of the time is likely to be trite, boring and probably already known: yes, dead people can never be taught to read.”

There are many reasons why a study might not replicate. Scientists could use a slightly different method second time around, or perform the experiment under different conditions. They might fail to find the original effect by chance. None of these would negate the original finding. Another possibility is that the original result was a false positive.

Among the experiments that stood up was one that found people are equally adept at recognising pride in faces from different cultures. Another backed up a finding that revealed the brain regions activated when people were given fair offers in a financial game. One study that failed replication claimed that encouraging people to believe there was no such thing as free will made them cheat more.

Munafo said that the problem of poor reproducibility is exacerbated by the way modern science works. “If I want to get promoted or get a grant, I need to be writing lots of papers. But writing lots of papers and doing lots of small experiments isn’t the way to get one really robust right answer,” he said. “What it takes to be a successful academic is not necessarily that well aligned with what it takes to be a good scientist.”
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