Professor Petrocelli’s research on BS discussed in Psychology Today

Dr. John Petrocelli

Professor’s Petrocelli’s research on the personality and situational antecedents of “bullshitting” was recently discussed in a article . His scientific work on this topic was published recently published:  Petrocelli, J. V. (2018). Antecedents of bullshitting. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 76, 249-258,


What a bunch of bull: The art and science of BS
Psychology Today
June 30, 2018
Recent research at Wake Forest University looked into the antecedents of BS. Psychology Professor John Petrocelli and team ran a series of experiments that examined the idea of a person having i) too little, ii) adequate, or iii) too much topic knowledge, and the extent to which they bullshitted.


Here are some highlights excerpted from the JESP empirical article:


Bullshitting involves communicating with little concern for evidence or truth.

Bullshitting behavior appears to have specific antecedents.

People bullshit when obligated to communicate about things they know little about.

People bullshit when expecting to receive a social pass of acceptability for it.

Bullshitting is attenuated when social cues signal difficulty in obtaining a pass.


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