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Bullshit-sensitivity predicts prosocial behavior
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Lund University, Department of Psychology, Lund, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Economics. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (JEDILab)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8159-1249
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Decision Research, Eugene, OR, United States of America. (JEDlLab)
2018 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 13, no 7, article id e0201474Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
San Francisco, United States: Public Library of Science , 2018. Vol. 13, no 7, article id e0201474
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology) Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-149915DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201474ISI: 000440300500039PubMedID: 30063739Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85050828331OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-149915DiVA, id: diva2:1236700
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2017-01827Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P14-0978:1Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, 2014.0187Available from: 2018-08-04 Created: 2018-08-04 Last updated: 2018-08-24Bibliographically approved

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Erlandsson, ArvidTinghög, GustavVästfjäll, Daniel

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