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People posting inspirational quotes on Facebook are actually dumb: Study

Is your Facebook feed cluttered with inspirational quotes and memes? The findings show that there is a definite link between low intelligence and being impressed by what looks like “profound statements”.

By: IANS | Toronto | Updated: December 6, 2015 5:03 pm
Inspire on Sand “Bullshit is a consequential aspect of the human condition,” said the authors of the study titled “On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bulls***t”. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Are you a Deepak Chopra fan and love to bombard your friends’ Facebook wall with inspirational quotes? This may sweep the floor off your feet. According to interesting research, people who post motivational quotes on Facebook and Twitter are actually dumb and “have lower levels of intelligence”.

In a study titled “On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bulls***t”, psychologists from University of Waterloo in Canada examined whether some people are more receptive to some silly inspirational statements than others.

The findings show that there is a definite link between low intelligence and being impressed by what looks like “profound statements”.

During four experiments involving 845 volunteers, the team asked the participants to evaluate a series of statements to indicate how profound they thought they were or if they agreed with them, Daily Mail reported.

They used phrases such as “attention and intention are the mechanics of Manifestation” and “imagination is inside exponential space time events”.

Most of the quotes were posted on Twitter by New Age guru Deepak Chopra.


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“Bullshit is a consequential aspect of the human condition. Profundity ratings for statements containing a random collection of buzzwords were very strongly correlated with a selective collection of actual ‘Tweets’ from Deepak Chopra’s ‘Twitter’ feed,” the authors explained.

To reach the conclusion, lead researcher Gordon Pennycook and his colleagues utilised a website called Sebpearce.com to generate random insightful statements. Some examples were: “This life is nothing short of an ennobling oasis of self-aware faith” and “Today, science tells us that the essence of nature is guidance”, including others.

The team found that certain people are more receptive to these nonsensical statements. The researchers found that individuals who were unable to discern a “bullshit” statement and rated them as profound were less intelligent and unlikely to engage in reflective thinking. They were also more vulnerable to ontological confusions and conspiracy theories and more likely to hold religious and paranormal beliefs.

“One benefit of gaining a better understanding of how we reject other’s bullshit is that it may teach us to be more cognizant of our own bullshit,” the authors concluded.

The results appeared in the journal Judgment and Decision Making.

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  1. A
    Jan 3, 2016 at 4:37 pm
    It's evident that Indian Express pays their writers minimum wage.... you get what you pay for I suppose. How do you all manage to dress yourselves in the morning? Definitely not worth sharing and reporting as spam..
    1. Swapna Rani
      Sep 29, 2016 at 6:51 am
      I think the motivational quotes which people go and see on the websites really motivate. Yeah, the people who write these may be dumb coz we are seeing lots of writers who work just for money.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Swapna fromlt;br/gt;
      1. Motivational thoughts
        Sep 29, 2016 at 6:55 am
        Can't believe that all these writers are dumb. They write fantastic motivational and inspirational quotes which inspires millions of people across the globe.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Farishalt;br/gt;
        1. Abhishek Sanyal
          Dec 6, 2015 at 7:24 pm
          Some research work are dumb too. In the sense that by examining 845 om volunteers, they are generalizing among 6 billion people.
          1. P
            Dec 9, 2015 at 7:53 am
            Dumb research... Can't believe professors can be so dumb... A profound statement is understood by few... But fashion is followed by most.... What dumb professors are not able to understand is the fact that if people consider it to be important to pretend that they understand profound ideas.. And it becomes fashion then given the fact that few people understand profound statements most of them will end up showing/accepting non-profound statement to be profound one..... Same for research of this type... Most such absurd low level biased research will be considered important by same type of people.... People who think less and follow herd... It doesn't matter whether Deepak Chopra is making profound statements or not..
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