Friday, 23 September 2016


More research is always needed

Yesterday's recipient of the Peace Prize at this year's Ig Nobel ceremony at Harvard University concluded as follows 
Bullshit is a consequential aspect of the human condition. Indeed, with the rise of communication technology, people are likely encountering more bullshit in their everyday lives than ever before... Using vagueness or ambiguity to mask a lack of meaningfulness is surely common in political rhetoric, marketing, and even academia...Indeed, as intimated by Frankfurt (2005), bullshitting is something that we likely all engage in to some degree (p. 1): 'One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. 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 construction of a reliable index of bullshit receptivity is an important first step toward gaining a better understanding of the underlying cognitive and social mechanisms that determine if and when bullshit is detected. Our bullshit receptivity scale was associated with a relatively wide range of important psychological factors. This is a valuable first step toward gaining a better understanding of the psychology of bullshit. The development of interventions and strategies that help individuals guard against bullshit is an important additional goal that requires considerable attention from cognitive and social psychologists...

Useful thoughts for the conference season and the start of the new academic year.

All the winners


Pennycook, G. et al. (2016) Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 10, no 6, pp. 549–563

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