“We're here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” - Steve Jobs.
Does that make you feel any richer? Is it the sort of line that makes you want to immediately take stock of your life, develop some game-changing tech from your garage, suddenly sport dark turtlenecks, launch one of the most important tech companies the world has ever known and ostracize your family?
No. Because with any luck you’re not the type of person who believes stock shots of crashing oceans layered with random text attributed to famous people are ever a good idea. Not even shots of kittens interspersed with lines by Jean-Paul Sartre. You’re better than that, as we've previously discussed.
And yet we can’t escape them: from that friend trapped in the evil cult that is network marketing, or your mum’s mate who fills time between re-runs of Jeremy Kyle sharing anything that gets posted on their wall, our Facebook news feeds continue to be cluttered by inspirational poster quotes - largely, let it be said, by people who aren’t very motivated themselves.
Well now research has confirmed what we all knew deep down: that those with a fondness for posting inspirational quotes tend to have a lower IQ.
For the study, individuals were asked to evaluate a number of statements including the mundane (“most people enjoy some kind of music”) as well as the the more profound (“nature is a self-regulating ecosystem of awareness”), with Gordon Pennycock, the PhD student who led the research, finding that some participants were more receptive to this type of “bulls**t" than others.
Writing in the journal Judgement and Decision Making, Pennycock claimed that 'those more receptive to bulls**t are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability – numeracy, verbal and fluid intelligence - 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.'
Basically, they believe in aliens and think the moon is made of cheese. They just haven't found a poster for it yet.