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Bullshit-sensitivity predicts prosocial behavior

Erlandsson, Arvid LU ; Nilsson, Artur LU ; Tinghög, Gustav and Västfjäll, Daniel (2018) In PLoS ONE 13(7).
Abstract

Bullshit-sensitivity is the ability to distinguish pseudo-profound bullshit sentences (e.g. “Your movement transforms universal observations”) from genuinely profound sentences (e.g. “The person who never made a mistake never tried something new”). Although bullshit-sensitivity has been linked to other individual difference measures, it has not yet been shown to predict any actual behavior. We therefore conducted a survey study with over a thousand participants from a general sample of the Swedish population and assessed participants’ bullshit-receptivity (i.e. their perceived meaningfulness of seven bullshit sentences) and profoundness-receptivity (i.e. their perceived meaningfulness of seven genuinely profound sentences), and used... (More)

Bullshit-sensitivity is the ability to distinguish pseudo-profound bullshit sentences (e.g. “Your movement transforms universal observations”) from genuinely profound sentences (e.g. “The person who never made a mistake never tried something new”). Although bullshit-sensitivity has been linked to other individual difference measures, it has not yet been shown to predict any actual behavior. We therefore conducted a survey study with over a thousand participants from a general sample of the Swedish population and assessed participants’ bullshit-receptivity (i.e. their perceived meaningfulness of seven bullshit sentences) and profoundness-receptivity (i.e. their perceived meaningfulness of seven genuinely profound sentences), and used these variables to predict two types of prosocial behavior (self-reported donations and a decision to volunteer for charity). Despite bullshit-receptivity and profoundness-receptivity being positively correlated with each other, logistic regression analyses showed that profoundness-receptivity had a positive association whereas bullshit-receptivity had a negative association with both types of prosocial behavior. These relations held up for the most part when controlling for potentially intermediating factors such as cognitive ability, time spent completing the survey, sex, age, level of education, and religiosity. The results suggest that people who are better at distinguishing the pseudo-profound from the actually profound are more prosocial.

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author
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organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
PLoS ONE
volume
13
issue
7
article number
e0201474
publisher
Public Library of Science (PLoS)
external identifiers
  • pmid:30063739
  • scopus:85050828331
ISSN
1932-6203
DOI
10.1371/journal.pone.0201474
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a88f4b04-3839-41a2-973b-93a578e0e404
date added to LUP
2018-09-07 14:50:29
date last changed
2021-10-03 05:11:20
@article{a88f4b04-3839-41a2-973b-93a578e0e404,
  abstract     = {<p>Bullshit-sensitivity is the ability to distinguish pseudo-profound bullshit sentences (e.g. “Your movement transforms universal observations”) from genuinely profound sentences (e.g. “The person who never made a mistake never tried something new”). Although bullshit-sensitivity has been linked to other individual difference measures, it has not yet been shown to predict any actual behavior. We therefore conducted a survey study with over a thousand participants from a general sample of the Swedish population and assessed participants’ bullshit-receptivity (i.e. their perceived meaningfulness of seven bullshit sentences) and profoundness-receptivity (i.e. their perceived meaningfulness of seven genuinely profound sentences), and used these variables to predict two types of prosocial behavior (self-reported donations and a decision to volunteer for charity). Despite bullshit-receptivity and profoundness-receptivity being positively correlated with each other, logistic regression analyses showed that profoundness-receptivity had a positive association whereas bullshit-receptivity had a negative association with both types of prosocial behavior. These relations held up for the most part when controlling for potentially intermediating factors such as cognitive ability, time spent completing the survey, sex, age, level of education, and religiosity. The results suggest that people who are better at distinguishing the pseudo-profound from the actually profound are more prosocial.</p>},
  author       = {Erlandsson, Arvid and Nilsson, Artur and Tinghög, Gustav and Västfjäll, Daniel},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {07},
  number       = {7},
  publisher    = {Public Library of Science (PLoS)},
  series       = {PLoS ONE},
  title        = {Bullshit-sensitivity predicts prosocial behavior},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201474},
  doi          = {10.1371/journal.pone.0201474},
  volume       = {13},
  year         = {2018},
}