An academic study on “pseudo-profound bullshit” finds that the people most likely to believe pseudo-profound bullshit are suckers—who are also dumb.

The study, published last month in the journal Judgment and Decision Making, analyzes the traits of people who are prone to believe strongly in a particular variety of bullshit: statements that sound superficially profound, but that actually mean jack shit, on closer examination. These are, according to the study, “statements consisting of buzzwords randomly organized into statements with syntactic structure but no discernible meaning (e.g., ‘Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena’).” The sort of captions that your friend who lived in New Zealand for a while puts on Instagram.

The study hypothesizes that some people may have “a potential inability to detect bullshit, which may cause one to confuse vagueness for profundity.” Indeed, you in fact know some of these people—your Facebook friends. We’ll skip all of the scientific mumbo-jumbo and just give you the raw scientific facts: “Those more receptive to bullshit are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability (i.e., verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy), 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.”

Sound like anyone you know? No? Okay, sure. Timelessness is the face of the soul.

[Full study, via IFL Science. Photo: Flickr]