Friday, 3 October 2008

Psychology dominates at the Ig Nobel Awards

Psychology dominated at last night's Ig Nobel Awards - the alternative ceremony for research that makes you laugh and then makes you think. (The Digest provides you with links to the psychology-related journal abstracts and pdfs below).

Marc Abrahams, the founder of the awards, told MSNBC's Cosmic Log: "Psychology has the bizarre quality as an academic field that it's both the hardest and the easiest thing to do. To really explain anything about how people behave is just hard. But to almost explain it in a way that's probably wrong - that's easy."

The awards are broken down into various categories with only the "cognitive science" prize explicitly aimed at psychological research. However, winners in several categories were clearly psychology-related:

Nutrition prize: Massimiliano Zampini of the University of Trento, Italy and British psychologist Charles Spence of Oxford University, UK, for electronically modifying the sound of a potato chip to make the person chewing the chip believe it to be crisper and fresher than it really is.

Medicine prize: Dan Ariely of Duke University, USA, for demonstrating that high-priced fake medicine is more effective than low-priced fake medicine.

Cognitive science prize: Toshiyuki Nakagaki of Hokkaido University, Japan, and colleagues for discovering that slime molds can solve puzzles.

Economics prize: Geoffrey Miller, Joshua Tybur and Brent Jordan of the University of New Mexico, USA, for discovering that a professional lap dancer's ovulatory cycle affects her tip earnings (link is to full-text PDF via author's website).

Literature prize: David Sims of Cass Business School. London, UK, for his lovingly written study "You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation within Organizations."

If any Digest readers locate freely-available full-text pdfs of any of these articles online, please let me know the link(s) via comments, and I'll add them to this post.

Post written by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.

Link to Ig Nobel Awards.

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