The Great Dr. Fox Lecture: A Vintage Academic Hoax (1970)

Back in 1970, three psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sors pulled off a hoax that dou­bled as med­ical research. They brought Dr. Myron L. Fox, “an author­i­ty on the appli­ca­tion of math­e­mat­ics to human behav­ior,” to a con­fer­ence near Lake Tahoe and let him talk about “Math­e­mat­i­cal Game The­o­ry as Applied to Physi­cian Edu­ca­tion.” Lit­tle did the audi­ence know that Fox was­n’t actu­al­ly a researcher or schol­ar. He was actu­al­ly an actor who had played parts in Hogan’s Heroes and Bat­man. And he was giv­en a gib­ber­ish-filled script to learn only the day before. Nonethe­less, the edu­ca­tors in the crowd ate up his mean­ing­less talk, and it allowed the researchers to draw the con­clu­sion that “style was more influ­en­tial than con­tent in pro­vid­ing learn­er sat­is­fac­tion.” A nice way of say­ing that jar­gon and cant can some­times take you a long way in the acad­e­my — in the human­i­ties and sci­ences alike. More back­sto­ry here. H/T Metafil­ter

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Stan­ford Prison Exper­i­ment on YouTube

Carl Gus­tav Jung Talks About Death

Ray Brad­bury: Lit­er­a­ture is the Safe­ty Valve of Civ­i­liza­tion

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