Ig Nobel Prize 2016: This year's 10 'improbable' project winners
The Annals of Improbable Research awarded Ig Nobel Prizes for 10 "improbable" research projects that explored subjects ranging from lying to the perceived personality of rocks.
The 26th annual Ig Nobels recognize researchers who conducted projects that "make people laugh, then make them think." Winners receive awards at HarvardUniversity's Sanders Theater and are invited to give public lectures at MIT.
The 2016 recipients included the following, listed by subject area.
Economics. A team of U.K. and New Zealand-based researchers examined the perceived personalities of rocks, from a sales and marketing perspective.
Physics. Researchers received recognition for their work on why white-haired horses are the most horsefly-proof horses, and why dragonflies are fatally attracted to black tombstones.
Chemistry. Volkswagen took home the award for solving the problem of excessive automobile emissions by automatically, electromechanically producing fewer emissions when cars are tested.
Psychology. A group of psychologists interviewed thousands of liars about their lying habits. Their findings, published in Acta Psychologica in 2015, suggested young adults are the best liars and that people lie the most in their teenage years. Researchers acknowledged, however, study participants could have been lying.
Biology. The prize for biology was jointly awarded to Charles Foster and Thomas Thwaites. Mr. Foster was awarded for his work, "Being a Beast," which documented his attempts at living in the wild as, at different times, a badger, an otter, a deer, a fox and a bird. Mr. Thwaites was awarded for his work, "GoatMan: How I Took A Holiday From Being Human," a project where he created prosthetic extensions of his limbs that allowed him to move in the manner of, and spend time roaming hills in the company of, goats.
Peace. Researchers from the University of Waterloo and SheridanCollege studied and identified traits that make some people more likely to believe empty, unproven statements.
Literature. Fredrik Sjöberg was awarded for his three-volume autobiographical work about the pleasures of collecting flies that are dead, and flies that are not yet dead.
Perception. This prize recognized researchers who studied how people perceive distances when they bend over and look between their legs. Their study was published in Vision Research in 2006.
Medicine. Researchers discovered people can relieve an itch in the right arm by scratching the left, but only after tricking their brain. Researchers injected histamine dihydrochloride into volunteers' right arms. Using mirrors and video feeds, researchers made it appear volunteers were scratching their right arm when they were really scratching their left.
Reproduction. Researchers published a study in European Urology that found polyester underwear significantly reduced male rats' sexual success rates.
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