We all know people who like to share words of wisdom on social media. Not theirs of course - they found it on Google and the picture just looked pretty.
Well, the next time one of them pops up on your timeline, you can comfort yourself in the knowledge that people who share inspirational quotes tend to be less intelligent.
A study, entitled "On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bulls***t" found that people who are more receptive to such quotes get lower scores in cognitive tests.
They are also more likely to believe in the paranormal and conspiracy theories, the study claims.
Researchers asked 845 volunteers to evaluate a series of "inspirational" statements and say how profound they thought they were and whether they agreed with them.
Participants were then asked to perform a series of cognitive tests.
Writing in the journal, Judgment and Decision Making, lead researcher Gordon Pennycook, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, said: "Although bulls**t is common in everyday life and has attracted attention from philosophers, its reception - critical or ingenuous - has not, to our knowledge, been subject to empirical investigation."
"We focus on pseudo-profound bulls**t, which consists of seemingly impressive assertions that are presented as true and meaningful but are actually vacuous."
"Our results support the idea that some people are more receptive to this type of bulls**t" he continued, concluding: "Those more receptive to bulls**t are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability - numeracy, verbal and fluid intelligence), are more prone to ontological confusions and conspiratorial ideation, are more likely to hold religious and paranormal beliefs, and are more likely to endorse complementary and alternative medicine."
The study used real-world examples, some taken from Deepak Chopra’s Twitter feed - Chopra has, the researchers explain, been accused of furthering "woo-woo nonsense" in the past.
After the findings were published last month, Professor Brian Cox couldn’t resist sharing a link to the study with Chopra online.
It didn’t go down well. But, as they say, "rise above the storm and you’ll find the sunshine". Right?
Source: click here.