The Goop effect: why online pseudoscience is so seductive - Science

I’m a sceptical person most days, but I do have my weak moments. Last weekend, Gwyneth Paltrow found me in one of them.

Key points:There are many reasons why we’re likely to fall for pseudoscience onlineWe’re more likely to believe anecdotes, and preference “natural” over “artificial”When you read health information online, slow down and consider other sources

Half way through an episode of the lifestyle guru’s Netflix series which explored the Wim Hof breathing method, I was almost on board to have cold showers for the rest of my life. Wim Hof is not the first person to extol the health benefits of freezing water — friends have told me the same, and if you believe the stereotype, Swedish people thrive off running from saunas to ice lakes.So perhaps my mind was primed to fall for this exact episode of Goop. There are many reasons why we find pseudoscience persuasive, according to Dr Micah Goldwater, a cognitive scientist at the University of Sydney. It is often simpler…

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