A team of researchers from the University of Michigan released a report today which adds to a growing body of evidence that those who routinely call scientists and science advocates shills for various industries do indeed believe that “irregardless” is a word.
The habit of accusing scientists of being bought off by industry, particularly by using the insult word “shill” has been studied for several years by psychologists who have long suspected a link to the phenomenon of thinking “irregardless” is a word.
“We had mostly anecdotal evidence for a long time but we’ve amassed enough hard data to firmly state that there is a definite correlation,” said head researcher, Dr. Jim Farrin. “It’s interesting because the more strident and frequent the shill accusations are, the more often we see ‘irregardless’ as part of an individual’s lexicon.”
Farrin cautions that it is too soon to prove causation. “Does the belief that ‘irregardless’ is a word mean someone is automatically prone to accusing scientists of being shills? Of course not, but we know there is a link.”
When asked what research was planned to better understand the relationship between the two idiosyncrasies, Farrin said his team was applying for grants in order to explore a possible connection to oxygen deprivation in early childhood.
Farrin also noted that researchers are investigating a strong association between the tendency to accuse scientists of being shills and the overuse of exclamation points.