In 1970, a game theory expert named Dr. Myron L. Fox gave a lecture to the University of Southern California School of Medicine’s psychiatry department, and it was quite well received.
The catch is that “Dr. Fox” was no game theory expert. He was an actor named Michael Fox, who was coached by researchers to make sure that he didn’t say anything relevant or understandable during the entire lecture. The experts in the audience didn’t notice.
The experiment established the “Dr. Fox Effect,” where a brilliant delivery technique distracts listeners from the fact that a talk is complete nonsense.
I don’t think I will ever be able to sit in any lecture and believe what my professors have to say from here on out. How am I to know that the people teaching me – are who they say they are? We take school, and life for that matter, on such a blind faith that the people around us are equally good.
To me – this also explores a problem with academia and just learning and writing. Any joe-schmo actor can come off the street and learn to read or speak in a well formed manner that makes it seem like what he is saying is actually legitimate – and I feel the same way about papers and writing.
Anyone can use enough buzz words and double talk and circular speaking to say a whole lot without saying anything at all.