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#sowhoknew: If you like business bullsh*t you are ‘officially’ stupid

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Or should that be the 800 pound gorilla? Boffins at Waterloo University have discovered that people who are impressed by business bullsh*t are officially “less intelligent”. Well you can pop that in your mental microwave and see how it defrosts!

The researchers tested 280 participants for the study entitled “On The Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullsh*t” – you might think I’m yanking your chain but, trust me here people, it’s 110 per cent true. Seriously, zero bullsh*t.

So how did they define bullsh*t? Well according to chief researcher Gordon Pennycook bullsh*t phrases largely consist of,”buzzwords randomly organised into statements with syntactic structure but no discernible meaning.”

As an example, the white paper highlights a tweeted quote from author Deepak Chopra, M.D:”Attention and intention are the mechanics of manifestation”

I’m going due diligence and full disclosure on this puppy so I’m going to circle back and take the helicopter view on it… don’t worry I’ll keep you in the loop with a deck on my findings.

Pennycook goes on to talk about how certain social media platforms have been a primary driver of the trend towards overusing business bullsh*t expressions:

“the necessary succinctness and rapidity of Twitter (140 characters per “Tweet”) may be particularly conducive to the promulgation of bullsh*t. The concern for profundity reveals an important defining characteristic of bullsh*t: that it attempts to impress rather than to inform; to be engaging rather than instructive”

Promulgation and profundity hey? That’s exactly the kind of joined up, holistic thinking that I want in my wheelhouse. I say we circle the wagons on this one and go granular to get traction.

Fancy having a go at generating your own bullsh*t expression? Well, as a rather nifty adjunct to the research, the team have recommended a ‘New Age Bulls**t Generator’ which, with the swift click of a mouse, will produce a totally new BS expression. You can have a go at making your own but in the interests of science (and basically to amuse myself) I’ve already had a go and it came up with these three gems:

“Freedom is the driver of sharing”

“The quantum cycle is approaching a tipping point”

“It’s time to take stardust to the next level”

I just want to put a stake in the ground here and say that this generator is simply the best thing since sliced bread. It’s a scalable soup to nuts bullsh*t solution. There. I’ve said it. Boom. Smashed it. Onwards and upwards.

Respondents were measured using what they have termed the BSR (Bullsh*t Receptivity) scale which is defined by those people who accept BS without questioning it or those people who simply have an inability to detect BS. Either way, the study discovered that those who were more predisposed to accept bullsh*t (i.e scored higher on the BSR scale) were:

“less reflective, lower in cognitive ability (i.e verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy) and are more prone to ontological confusions and conspiratorial ideation”

Not only that but the same people are more likely to be believe in ghosts. So, in other words, suckers.

So there you have it, a full 360 degree, 300 foot view of why bullsh*tters and bullsh*ttees are so full of, err, bullsh*t (Hell’s teeth, I’m inculcated and hung by my very own petard). But what do you think? Have the researchers knocked this baby out of the ballpark or have they reached for the stars but come up with a handful of dirt? As ever, I’m keen to hear your views…

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