News organizations treating The Onion's satire as reality is nothing new, but there's an especially tragic quality to the error when the dupe is one of the oldest science magazines in the country.
|Mean kids from Children Of The Corn IV|
I posted this article from Discover, based on this legitimate study from neuroscientist Simone Shamay-Tsoory, as part of a set of links a couple of weeks ago: Even toddlers experience schadenfreude.
On Wednesday, Science News posted this piece, in which they incorporated not only the real study cited by Discover, but a 2009 article from The Onion entitled "New Study Reveals Most Children Unrepentant Sociopaths":
A study published Monday in The Journal Of Child Psychology And Psychiatry has concluded that an estimated 98 percent of children under the age of 10 are remorseless sociopaths...
According to renowned child psychologist Dr. Pritha Singh, author of Born Without Souls, diagnosing preadolecents as sociopaths is primarily a theoretical interest, as the disorder is considered untreatable.
"We've tried behavior modification therapies, but children actually learn from our techniques and become even more adept at manipulating others while concealing their shameless misanthropy," Singh said. "Sadly, experience has taught us there is little hope for rehabilitation."
After readers recognized the blunder, Science News scrubbed the citation, failing to note any correction had taken place. Of course, in a Google cache world, all deletions are strictly hypothetical.