The ZINNG: How Profound

Pennycook’s Poppycock – A new scientific study has been released in Judgment and Decision Making that is garnering headlines (most of them overblown, sensationalist, and reactionary) that attempts to measure peoples’ susceptibility to “pseudo-profound bullshit.” Gordon Pennycook and colleagues used a sentence generator that takes words and phrases lifted straight from Deepak Chopra’s Twitter feed and puts them together at random while keeping a general syntactic structure to conduct a study having participants rate the auto-generated sentences on a profundity scale, comparing that to actual, profound sentences.

The results suggest that those who were more “receptive to bullshit are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability (i.e., verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy), 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.”

With technology and social media, our culture is inundated with bullshit from every medium. Pennycook and colleagues’ conclusion hopes that “one benefit of gaining a better understanding of how we reject other’s  bullshit is that it may teach us to be more cognizant of our own bullshit. “

Test yourself – the random generator is available here.

I got: “Emotional intelligence co creates great miracles.”






Crime and Dialogue – Crime fiction is littered with sharp wit and heady dialogue. From Agatha Christie to Raymond Chandler, from Martin Amis to some lesser known authors—we’ve come to expect some excellent speech from the best of the genre. Over at The Guardian, they’ve compiled their top 10 list of best dialogue in crime fiction.

Once a Crooked Man GiveawayFrom the beloved actor known for his roles on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and NCIS comes a quirky crime novel featuring a well-intentioned young actor, a trio of suave crooks, and a series of untimely coincidences.

Enter for a chance to win Once a Crooked Man by David McCallum here.

Ghost Ships – Japanese police and coast guard have come across 12 capsized, wooden boats in the last 2 months carrying nothing but dead bodies (22 as of this article). The wooden boats’ origins are a mystery, although some clues point to these ghost ships coming from North Korea.

What are some of the randomly generated, pseudo-profound bullshit phrases you got?

What would you put in the top 10 of crime fiction dialogue?

Start/join the conversation below!

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