Here’s a study that should shock absolutely no one — Trump supporters think absolute bullsh*t empty statements are profound words of wisdom due to a lack of critical thinking skills. Conservatives, in general, tended to react to buzzwords, even though the statements they read were devoid of any real meaning.
This explains a lot about the right-wing electorate.
The study by PLOS ONE studied supporters of both Democratic and Republican candidates to determine which group was more easily swayed by fancy nonsense. The abstract says:
The present research investigates the associations between holding favorable views of potential Democratic or Republican candidates for the US presidency 2016 and seeing profoundness in bullshit statements. In this contribution, bullshit is used as a technical term which is defined as communicative expression that lacks content, logic, or truth from the perspective of natural science.”
The study is important because bullsh*t surrounds us in our daily lives and it’s intriguing to understand what type of people are more or less prone to believing it. But it isn’t just false statements and exaggerations. The study sought statements that were “pseudo-profound” and then tested the groups to determine which supporters of presidential candidates were the least likely to sniff out the what they just read as vacuous and empty of any real meaning.
For example, this sentence on first glance may seem profound, but when you get into it, it means absolutely nothing:
Hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty.”
Pretty words. Utter bullsh*t.
Participants were instructed to rate 10 sentences on a profoundness scale of 1 to 5. These participants also had to give a favorability rating for presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Marco Rubio.
As a control to prove the 169 participants weren’t just rating everything they read as profound, they also had to rate mundane sentences for deepness, such as “A wet person does not feel the rain.” This control meant to prove people who were fooled into thinking sentences were profound were just dazzled by fancy buzzwords.
The researchers Stefan Pfattheicher and Simon Schindler predicted conservatives would “have a higher tendency for pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity.” They based their hypothesis on two assumptions:
First, given that pseudo-profound bullshit statements are not easy to read and to understand, individuals need the ability to detect that bullshit statements are ultimately meaningless and lack truth.
“Second, research has shown that conservative attitudes are related to relying on intuitive thinking styles while cognitive complexity (i.e., the tendency to construct a variety of perspectives for viewing an issue) is avoided.”
The study found that conservatives were more likely to find a higher rate of profoundness in bullsh*t statements. The results were exceptionally high in participants who held favorable views of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Which explains why so many Americans, sometimes otherwise intelligent people, have bought into the bullsh*t statement, “Make America Great Again.” That statement in itself is devoid of any real meaning, a point of reference, or substance — but it’s super snazzy!
This shines a bright light on Trump’s wild success in this race — his speeches, statements, and Tweets are inundated with buzzwords that score well with conservatives even though his entire campaign is emptier than his head. Must be why Donald Trump just loves the undereducated.
It should be noted that the study correlates conservatives to being prone to believing bullsh*t statements, but the study isn’t causal. Meaning, being conservative doesn’t necessarily mean a person doesn’t have a bullsh*t detector. In many cases often right wing leaning people tend to be more analytical than left-leaning individuals. And just being liberal doesn’t mean a person doesn’t also believe in pseudo-intellectual bullshit. But conservatives geared towards the more moronic presidential candidates do have a lower propensity towards critical thinking, and that’s exactly what this study shows.
Featured Image via Getty Images/John Moore
Jenna lives in the scorching hot desert of Arizona, which means she will be able to outlive everyone once climate change heats the Earth up to her preferred temperature of a comfortable 160 degrees.