Kids are Really Good at Detecting Bullshit


Parents already know this.

Kids are really good when it comes to detecting bullshit health claims according to a new study on health. Kids were asked if certain health claims are true or not and the kids were remarkable good at deciphering bogus claims when they thought about it. The bullshit being referred to here is inline with Harry G. Frankfurt’s take on it from his academic essay On Bullshit. Basically, a bullshitter is just trying to persuade their opponent with no regard with what is true (a liar on the other hand knows the truth and is purposefully denying it).

So all those bad articles you see on Facebook claiming to ‘cure’ or ‘heal’ something – see if it fools a kid before you believe it.

In a short time, they were running their own blinded, randomized trials — the gold standard for testing medical claims — in the classroom. By the end of their experiment, Oxman said, “They figured out that there was little if any difference in the effects of the different colors and they asked me if the teenagers who made the claim really believed that.”

The results of the trial were just published in the Lancet, and they showed a remarkable rate of success: Kids who were taught basic concepts about how to think critically about health claims massively outperformed children in a control group.

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