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When will the media learn to read?

Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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12/13/2015 5:31:34 PM
Posted: 12 months ago
A certain newspaper in Hong Kong just drew a cartoon picture entitled 'The filthier your mouth, the more you know'. It was an introduction to an article on a study on swearing.

In the study, the subjects were asked to say as many swear words as they could in 60 sec. Afterwards, they were asked to name as any animals as possible. The result was the number of words named in these two tasks was positively correlated. The news article concluded that swearers have bigger vocabularies.

I found this interpretation of the data absurd. Someone who can spell out a plethora of swears within 60 seconds does not necessarily swear extensively in daily life. Besides, there's nothing here suggesting a causal link between swearing ability and the size of the mental lexicon. In all likelihood, the people who scored high in both tasks simply had better lexical retrieval speed.

I accessed the original journal article and read the abstract. There was nothing whatsoever supporting the newspaper's assertion that swearers have bigger vocabularies. They were only trying to disprove the myth that fluency in swearing is due to poor language ability.

The newspaper in question is one of the more credible papers in Hong Kong. Sheesh, when will the media learn to interpret scientific studies properly?
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

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dylancatlow
Posts: 12,248
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12/13/2015 6:13:13 PM
Posted: 12 months ago
Journalists are always doing this kind of thing, particularly when it lets them write attention-grabbing articles. There's next to no risk because the average reader just doesn't care.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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12/13/2015 6:23:56 PM
Posted: 12 months ago
At 12/13/2015 6:13:13 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Journalists are always doing this kind of thing, particularly when it lets them write attention-grabbing articles. There's next to no risk because the average reader just doesn't care.

And that's the scary thing... It was posted on one of my university's secret pages, and it attracted hundreds of likes and people tagging their friends. (Meanwhile, few people seemed to have read my comment debunking the article...)
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,248
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12/13/2015 6:32:39 PM
Posted: 12 months ago
At 12/13/2015 6:23:56 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 12/13/2015 6:13:13 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Journalists are always doing this kind of thing, particularly when it lets them write attention-grabbing articles. There's next to no risk because the average reader just doesn't care.

And that's the scary thing... It was posted on one of my university's secret pages, and it attracted hundreds of likes and people tagging their friends. (Meanwhile, few people seemed to have read my comment debunking the article...)

They really shouldn't even need to read your comments. Any reasonably intelligent person should be able to see through the article with minimal effort. Those who can't are either morons or not reading the article critically.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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12/13/2015 6:43:02 PM
Posted: 12 months ago
At 12/13/2015 6:32:39 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 12/13/2015 6:23:56 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 12/13/2015 6:13:13 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
Journalists are always doing this kind of thing, particularly when it lets them write attention-grabbing articles. There's next to no risk because the average reader just doesn't care.

And that's the scary thing... It was posted on one of my university's secret pages, and it attracted hundreds of likes and people tagging their friends. (Meanwhile, few people seemed to have read my comment debunking the article...)

They really shouldn't even need to read your comments. Any reasonably intelligent person should be able to see through the article with minimal effort. Those who can't are either morons or not reading the article critically.

Very true.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Midnight1131
Posts: 1,643
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12/16/2015 4:27:07 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/13/2015 5:31:34 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
A certain newspaper in Hong Kong just drew a cartoon picture entitled 'The filthier your mouth, the more you know'. It was an introduction to an article on a study on swearing.

In the study, the subjects were asked to say as many swear words as they could in 60 sec. Afterwards, they were asked to name as any animals as possible. The result was the number of words named in these two tasks was positively correlated. The news article concluded that swearers have bigger vocabularies.

I don't even know how to react to this. This doesn't deserve to be called a study.
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