Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How the Fraudulent Dr Fox Fooled The Shrinks

The Dr. Fox effect is about how easily shrinks are fooled by phony experts who pretend to speak authoritatively but who are babbling nonsense. Some video from the famous 1976 experiment has been uncovered:
You’re looking at footage at a somewhat infamous scam lecture an actor gave to a group of psychiatrists, about game theory. The actor was trained the day before — trained so that he wouldn’t say much that made sense. But he had such a convincing presence that toward the end, even after the fraud was exposed, some audience members asked where they could read more about the research.

Fox was trained to give this talk only the day before. He was given an article from Scientific American on game theory and worked up a lecture from it that was intentionally full of imprecise waffle, invented words and contradictory assertions. ...

Fox was convinced he’d be rumbled during the lecture. But the audience hung on his every word and, when the 20-minutes-long talk was over, bombarded him with questions, which he displayed such virtuosity in not answering that nobody noticed.

On the feedback form that was handed round, all ten people who attended the lecture said that it had given them food for thought, while nine of them also reckoned that Fox had presented the material in a clear manner, put it across in an interesting way and incorporated plenty of good illustrative examples into his talk.
I don't know how anyone can take psychiatrists and psychologists seriously when even the experts cannot tell the difference when they are listening to a charlatan who is just stringing together buzzwords.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's worth seeing on youtube.