The 29th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony was held yesterday. The winners are listed here. The Biology Prize went to “Ling-Jun Kong, Herbert Crepaz, Agnieszka Górecka, Aleksandra Urbanek, Rainer Dumke, and Tomasz Paterek, for discovering that dead magnetized cockroaches behave differently than living magnetized cockroaches.”
As you might have guessed, the “behavior” in the actual experiment is not what the little blurb suggests.
The psychology prize also has a silly-sounding blurb, but there are important implications. “Fritz Strack, for discovering that holding a pen in one’s mouth makes one smile, which makes one happier — and for then discovering that it does not.”
The second of the two articles, “From Data to Truth in Psychological Science. A Personal Perspective,” Fritz Strack, Frontiers in Psychology, May 16, 2017, is a thoughtful discussion of how we “know,” the importance of replication of studies, and the problems of “publication bias.” Once more, with feeling, what “studies show” “ain’t necessarily so.”
Finally, the anatomy prize goes to “Roger Mieusset and Bourras Bengoudifa, for measuring scrotal temperature asymmetry in naked and clothed postmen in France.” I didn’t read the reference. I don’t want to know.