Is there a bullshit blind spot? A series of two studies recently found that people who were the worst at detecting bullshit not only grossly overestimated their detection ability, but also overestimated their ability compared to other people. In other words, they not only believe that they are better at detecting BS than they actually are, they also believe that they are better at it than the average person.
At the same time, those who were best at detecting BS not only underestimated their own performance but also believed that they were slightly worse at detecting BS than the average person. This research was published in Thinking & Reasoning.
“Broadly, I’m interested in figuring out why relatively smart people believe dumb things (and I include myself sometimes in that category!). So, this includes trying to understand what characteristics are common among people who fall for misinformation as well as what characteristics are common in the misleading messages that make them appealing and persuasive to some people (such as the features of the message itself, how it is delivered, etc.),” said Shane Littrell, PhD (@MetacogniShane), a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Miami.
“My co-authors and I recently published a study examining whether people who spread misinformation are also more likely to fall for it – that is, whether one can ‘bullshit a bullshitter’ (open-access version) – and one of the main implications of that work suggests that people who intentionally spread misinformation in some situations can also unintentionally spread it without realizing it in other situations. To me, this seemed to suggest that some people who knowingly spread bullshit are unaware of the fact that they often fall for it themselves, possibly because they think they’re better at detecting it than everyone else.” [Continue reading…]