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How Technical Sounding Nonsense Can Boost Your Career Prospects

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#1
•eve•

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salam

 

 

Is a research paper in the social sciences more impressive if it contains some impenetrable math? Kimmo Eriksson, who made a mid-career move from pure mathematics to cultural evolution and social psychology, had a hunch that it might. So he did a test. He recruited a bunch of volunteers with either masters degrees or PhDs to read abstracts of two actual papers that had been previously published. Half the group got the original abstract, while the other half got the abstract with this sentence added:

blog_eriksson_equation_0.jpg

So what did he find? Reviewers were asked to rate the quality of the research on a scale of 1-100, and it turned out that when the reviewer had a degree in a tech-related area, the addition of the nonsense equation had no effect. In fact, it reduced their rating of the abstract slightly. But if the reviewer's degree was in the humanities

blog_eriksson_results.jpg

social sciences, medicine, or education, the added math raised their rating of the abstract significantly. Eriksson comments:

The experimental results suggest a bias for nonsense math in judgments of quality of research. Further, this bias was only found among people with degrees from areas outside mathematics, science and technology. Presumably lack of mathematical skills renders difficult own critical evaluation of meaningless mathematics....It may also be that people always tend to become impressed by what they do not understand, irrespective of what field it represents—much in line with the "Guru effect" discussed by Sperber (2010). The scope of the phenomenon is a question for future research.

The chart on the right shows how participants rated the abstracts with the added math compared to the original mathless abstract. The full paper is here.

 

 

By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

 

 

Too bad I can't use meaningless equations in my Law papers, cause I'm pretty sure all my professors would fall for it, and take me for a really smart person.  :yes: 


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#2
Omeymaa

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Oh yes, I belive in that strongly. Haven't I told you about my first year as a teacher? :?


Done is better than perfect.


#3
Beebo

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I totally agree with this as I have experienced it first hand in the work force. Many of my reports and presentations which I somehow referred to a Mathematical equation or physics theory had a more "positive" response than ones that were direct, concise and easy to follow.

 

Keep in mind that these were presented to people with Arts and Commerce backgrounds, so it's kinda interesting to see such a theory put to test and proved.


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#4
•eve•

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salam

 

Haven't I told you about my first year as a teacher? :?

 

No! Tell me :D



#5
Omeymaa

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#6
Beebo

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did you mean to hide your reply Omeymaa?? :/



#7
Omeymaa

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Yes I did Admin. It is part of E-DZ's marketing techniques I believe.

#8
Beebo

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Yes I did Admin. It is part of E-DZ's marketing techniques I believe.

 

hahaha i like how you think sis



#9
Abu Daoud

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hhhhhmmmmm Omeymaa works at Hopeland Institute? I wonder if Laura was baffled by techno  babble? And yes Eve it is harder to baffle the ones who are the most baffling so Law would be an area that this method wouldn't work.  :silenced:


Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein, and whoever recommends and helps an evil cause shares in its burdens” Qur’an:4:85





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