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International study shows rich, Canadian boys most likely to lie about intelligence

Rich, Canadian boys have been ranked as top liars in a recent international study.

Researchers led by John Jerrim, professor of education and social statistics at the University College London Institute of Education, attempted to compare bullshitting in teenagers from nine English-speaking countries. Using data from a Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), they found male Canadians from affluent backgrounds were most likely to say they knew something that they didn’t.

Jerrim built what he calls a “bullshit scale” by collecting responses from students related to their knowledge on 16 different math topics. The catch was that the three of the total 16 topics were made-up.

The largest number of respondents claiming they were skilled in the fake topics were Canadian. American respondents followed closely behind their northern neighbours with the second largest bullshitting score.

Across all nine countries, they also found boys were more likely to be bullshitters than girls, yet the gender gap was weaker in North America than it was in the rest of the world. The analysis also showed that those who came from more affluent backgrounds were most likely to say they had an understanding of the fake topics.

“If on the way home tonight you meet a charming, posh, male Canadian, perhaps it’s best you don’t believe everything that they say,” Jerrim wrote on his blog in response to the findings.

On a more serious note, Jerrim also said that there has been very little research done into the widespread social phenomenon of bullshitting.

“Resources such as PISA, when used in imaginative ways, can tell us a lot more about the world in which we live than just educational achievement alone,” he said.