Please read the following four statements: You are a warrior of the universe. The goal of bio-electricity is to plant the seeds of truth rather than illusion. Non-locality requires exploration. This life is nothing short of an ennobling network of sacred rejuvenation. As you read them, did you feel yourself in the midst of profound understanding? Were you transfixed by the possibility that those statements will ennoble you? Congratulations, you’re stupid. Researchers have found a link between lower cognitive abilities and the acceptance of “pseudo-profound bullshit.” A study published in the Journal of Judgement and Decision Making analyzed people’s response to statements which sound deep and aim “to impress rather than inform,” reports the Irish Times.
Participants in the study were asked to read sentences and rate them on a scale of 1 (not at all profound) to 5 (very profound.) The statements were not the thoughts of philosophers; they were all generated by computer. One example that volunteers were asked to read was the statement “Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty.” As the researchers point out, the statement “makes sense in terms of sentence structure, but is just a collection of vague words designed to seem profound.” The researchers found that many participants “largely failed to detect that the statements are bullshit,” and that people who found profundity in such sentences “are less reflective in their thinking; are of lower cognitive ability; are more likely to be religious and hold paranormal beliefs and are more likely to endorse ‘complimentary and alternative medicine.'” More examples can be found at this New Age Bullshit Generator, which uses computer code to randomly conjure sentences and phrases that seem deep but are meaningless. The inspiration (massively heavy loaded pun fully intended) came from New Age guru Deepak Chopra. Enjoy your weekend, and remember that aspiration is a constant; life is nothing short of an unfolding oasis of ancient grace; and we exist as pulses.