Anti-Knowledge is information that makes you dumber.
It’s knowledge that gives you a less accurate understanding of the world. Flat Earth Theory would be an example of Anti-Knowledge. This information reduces your ability to understand how things work and make accurate predictions.
Behavioral science is filled with Anti-Knowledge. In fact, around half of behavioral science research can be classified as Anti-Knowledge. Only between 36% and 62% of behavioral science findings can be replicated, and the effect sizes seem to only be half as large as reported.
Examples of behavioral science Anti-Knowledge
The idea that subtle cues can powerfully influence behavior has been contested, with many studies failing to replicate original findings.
The idea that the fear of confirming negative stereotypes can undermine performance has faced mixed results in replication studies.
The claim that adopting an expansive posture can increase confidence and hormonal levels has been challenged, with some studies failing to replicate the original effects.
The finding that people’s judgments are influenced by irrelevant numerical anchors has proven difficult to replicate consistently.
The Bystander Effect
This famous finding suggested that the presence of others reduces the likelihood that someone will intervene in an emergency. While there is some evidence for the effect, it is much weaker and more context-dependent than initially thought.