Good Reason

It's okay to be wrong. It's not okay to stay wrong.

The Dr Fox Effect

As a lecturer, I used to worry that students would figure out how little I knew. After a while, I realised that I didn’t have to know everything, and more importantly, I probably knew ‘enough’ to be capable at my level. Now I’m quite relaxed about knowing hardly anything, as long as I keep reading and discussing things with people who know more than I do.

But this clip terrified me all over again. It’s about the ‘Dr Fox Effect‘, and it describes how an engaging lecturer can give students the impression that they’ve learned something, even when the presentation was content-free. In this clip, professors think they’re getting a lecture on game theory from an expert, when they’re really listening to complete gibberish from an actor.

Now I wonder: In a lecture, do I give students something real and useful? Or are students happy with my lectures because I’m ‘entertaining’, while getting nothing of real value?

This is really a little bit scary.

h/t/ weird experiments


  1. Its like Sunday School, only entertaining.

  2. This is excellent.

    Now, should I show it to my lecturers?

  3. Pssst! Daniel! If you're worried about your students finding out that you don't know that much, don't admit to it on the internet.

    Actually, I think the ability to pull that off is worth something. One of the guys where I work is especially good at doing it when clients come in for advice. I honestly admire his ability to not advise them of much but have them leave happy (I should add that he is also very good at giving the right advice when it is genuinely required).

  4. AKA the "Charlene Werner Effect"?

  5. I have listened to a few lectures like this- well presented but I have learnt nothing, in fact I swear actual information has left my brain through trying to decipher the nonsense. None of which were yours. I can say first hand that your lectures are (were?) informative and mildly entertaining 😉
    Your 30 day blog thing may have inspired me to return to blog land but I fear I've not got much interesting to say.
    Good to see you're still here anyway 🙂

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Good Reason

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑