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

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