I’m sure that by now most people on Facebook have seen some silly post that confirms the relation between two ridiculous things.
Here is a great example:
Tracking Down The Source
The Facebook post above references a page from Brightside.me, 9 Scientifically Proven Signs That You’re Much Smarter Than You Think. This page references another article from Research Suggests Being Lazy Is A Sign Of High Intelligence. Which is written from the based of an article from Are brainy people lazy? “Need For Cognition” correlates with less physical activity Which is then abstracted from the source article The physical sacrifice of thinking which is hidden behind a paywall preventing most people from actually reading the original article.
If we look at this through a Communication lens and use Argument Theory to break down what is going on this becomes simple. Every one of the articles that abstracted the reality of the source did so with a reasonable assumption. If people that are fit are less intelligent then people that are lazy must be more intelligent. If you are seeing the flaw in this logic already, note that this is causing a misconception because it is violating the Scientific Argument rule in Argument Theory. The theory paraphrases The Rhetoric of Science by Alan G. Gross stating that scientific data is not something that can be changed off assumption if it was not created off assumptions.
The original article was on, how physical cognition draws away from people need to stimulate their mind in other ways and was written of real research studies. It in no way states that laziness is an indication of intelligence. But through the abstraction, like a game of telephone, somehow this is being publicly perceived that being lazy is a clear sign of intelligence.
It might be clear from just reading the title that internet content like this isn’t entirely truthful. Typically, internet content like this is circulated because it is what people want to hear. Resulting in people using articles to back everything from everyday conversations to scholarly papers.
The Difference Between Public Perception of Studies and Actual Studies
In a study from 2016 and 2017 backed by the University of Maryland and the Pew Research Center, ~67% of adults are getting their news from Social Media sights.
This would indicate that people are taking at least some of these post as fact, many of which could be just as misleading as the post above.
This is the reality that we live in now. Anyone can post misleading and contorted information without regulation and all in the name of writing catchy posts.