Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles For those of you who don’t know me very well. My previous job was actually as a point guard for the Los Angeles Sparx. Julian: I call shenanigans on that! You're way more of a power forward. L:Hello peddlers of ideas, Lissette J:and Julian L: here for DNews. BS is nearly everywhere, and now researchers are making sure it’s got a place in science journals too. Scientists from the University of Waterloo even put together a Bullshit Receptivity Scale, designed to gauge how likely people are to fall for it. According to Princeton Philosopher Harry Frankfurt, though BS can take many forms, there is one particular type of bull-patty statement that we seem to fall for the most; pseudoprofound-bullshit. This is made up of statements that lack true meaning - empty statements that are designed to impress, but don’t really get at anything. J: Manure peddlers of the pseudotype variety may or may not be aware of the truth - they may believe what they’re saying even though they are totally clueless. This is different from liars in that liars are aware of the truth and intentionally manipulate it to deceive someone. Pseudo profound statements are also different from nonsense, because nonsense statements, on their surface, are obviously not communicating anything - they may lack proper syntax and structure. L: Whereas male bovine excrement seems - on the surface - to make sense. In their article published in the journal Judgment And Decision Making, researchers give some examples of pseudoprofound-bullshit. I’m including one of them for you to test if you can sniff it out. Reaaaady…. J: Yep, bring it on. L: Which one of these 3 statements is pseudo-profound: 1: Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty. 2: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 3: Unparalleled transforms beholder meaning beauty J; Ok I think I know but why don’t you go first. Y’know, so I can make sure you’re right. L: Ok, so you may have immediately noticed that there is definitely something wrong with statement 3 - it’s easy to see that it’s plain nonsense. It doesn’t even have a proper sentence structure. Statement 2 is a cliche, but it conveys a fully formed idea. That leaves statement one. “Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty.” It sounds nice, but it’s going in circles - it means nothing. But, if you didn’t catch that Statement One is the culprit right away… you’re not alone. Julian, did you get that? J: Yeah, that’s exactly what I got. L: Poppycock. J: Ok, you got me. But, detecting rubbish can be tricky - especially when you’re not being prompted to look for it - like we just did right now. In the real world, people fall for drivel all the time - some of us more than others. Surprisingly, one of the things that seems to be linked to our bull patty detector 5000 is our political views. I know all of you instantly thought you’d be better at detecting flim flam, but half of you aren’t going to be happy. L: In a study of 196 people published in the journal PLOS One, researchers used the Bullshit Receptivity Scale to see how supporting democratic versus republican candidates relates to BS. They found that participants who supported this election cycle’s republican candidates Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump were more likely to fall for baloney than those who supported the democratic candidates: Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders. J: What’s more, they also found that the participants who held more politically conservative views had a greater tendency to see meaning in moonshine compared to those who were more politically liberal. And to clarify these are conclusions that have been found in just one study. L: Another factor that makes people more susceptible to falling for flimflam is their default when receiving new information - according to researchers like Gilbert and Spinoza some people have a bias towards rating new information as true as opposed to false. It’s their fallback. When we are mentally exhausted, we are more likely to resort to this default. So people who lean towards believing new information is true are more likely to fall for BS. J: In a 2015 study titled On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit, researchers found that claptrap receptivity was positively correlated with believing in conspiracies, in paranormal activity, and the efficacy of alternative medicine. But all is not lost, researchers at The University of Waterloo and Sheridan College, note that there are certain things that can help you spot flapdoodle. L: One handy tool is looking for vagueness. If a statement is vague - unclear or ambiguous in it’s meaning - you should probably probe deeper. They also note that certain mediums might be more prone to BS than others Twitter, for example, which limits statements to 140 characters might be more likely to foster hogwash than something like a textbook. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt to pay attention to the source. But why does it make you so angry when your relatives support candidates your hate? Check out my other episode here for more on Why Politics Make Us So Angry What tools do you use to spot BS? What tools do you use to spot BS? Share your thoughts in the comments and remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode of DNews. Thanks for watching.