A study has found those who bullsh*t in certain situations may actually have higher levels of intelligence.
Two separate studies, consisting of more than 1,000 people in total, looked at the connections between cognitive ability, how willing participants were to bullsh*t, and how well they should bullsh*t.
Researchers defined bullsh*tting as: ‘Communication characterised by an intent to be convincing or impressive without concern for truth’.
Part of the study saw participants presented with 10 different concepts, four of which were fake. They were then tasked with rating their knowledge of each concept on a five-point scale ranging from ‘never heard of it’, to ‘know it well, understand the concept’.
534 participants were then asked to give their most convincing explanations to these concepts (even if they really had never heard of it), while the rest of the participants acted as ‘bullsh*t raters’.
The responses given to the fake concepts were created as a way of analysing the person’s willingness to ‘be creative and make up an explanation’. Those with higher scores are thought to be more frequent bullsh*tters.
As well as being evident, serial bullsh*tters, the study concluded that those who do make up explanations, and do it well, have a higher level of intelligence.
Part of the study, published in the scientific journal Evolutionary Psychology, read, ‘Examining the hypothesized positive association between bullsh*t ability and intelligence, we find that bullsh*t ability was positively associated with verbal intelligence.’
‘Furthermore, the perceived intelligence of Bullsh*t Producers was positively correlated with assessments of their bullsh*t ability. This association is consistent with the hypothesis that producing satisfying and seemingly accurate explanations of completely fictional concepts is perceived by individuals as a signal of intelligence,’ it further concluded.
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