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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”.

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.

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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 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.

First published on: 06-12-2015 at 03:09:54 pm
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