Applied Cognitive Psychology

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Volume 33 Issue 2 (March 2019), Pages 149-322

Reception and willingness to share pseudo‐profound bullshit and their relation to other epistemically suspect beliefs and cognitive ability in Slovakia and Romania (pages 299-311)

Summary Propensity to judge randomly generated, syntactically correct (i.e., bullshit) statements as profound is associated with a variety of conceptually relevant variables (e.g., intuitive cognitive style and supernatural beliefs). Besides generalizing these findings to a different cultural setting, we examined the relationships to sharing the bullshit on social media. Rating nonsense as profound was associated with a lower cognitive ability; a stronger belief in the paranormal, alternative medicine, and conspiracies; and ontological confusion. The more profound a statement was rated to be, the more likely it was to be shared, and propensity for sharing bullshit was predicted by ontological confusion and religious beliefs. Bullshit receptivity and sharing may be closely related to several dimensions of epistemically suspect beliefs; people with these propensities are relatively open to vague statements resembling New Age spirituality.

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