Archive for 'Ig Nobel'

Some video reports about the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize winners

Friday, December 9th, 2016

Here’s a smattering of TV news reports about the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize winners and the ceremony. If you look down your nose at television, perhaps begin by reading some wire service reports: Associated Press, Reuters (and a trove of Reuters photos), AFP. LiveScience took many photos.

NHK [Japan]:


CTV Winnipeg [Canada]:

CIS [Russia]:

Magellan SuperTV2 [Hungary]:

Teleitalia [Italy]:

News TV:

CCTV America [China]:

CCTV News [China]:

Otago Daily Times [New Zealand]:

Chuyển Động | Đề Cử Giải Ig Nobel Tại Việt Nam | Tin Hot:

CNN News:

World News Russia Ukraine:

For additional reports, see the Improbable Research press clips page.

NEXT POST: Red wine on pre-hotdogs?



Chimps Recognize Butts That Are Upside-Down, Too

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

A new study builds on prize-winning do-chimps-recognize-buttocks research, adding an upside-down appraisal:

Getting to the Bottom of Face Processing. Species-Specific Inversion Effects for Faces and Behinds in Humans and Chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes),” Mariska E. Kret and Masaki Tomonaga, PLOS ONE, November 30, 2016. The authors, at Leiden University, the Netherlands, and Kyoto University, Japan, build on work, by other researchers, that won an Ig Nobel Anatomy Prize:


“In four different delayed matching-to-sample tasks with upright and inverted body parts, we show that humans demonstrate a face, but not a behind inversion effect and that chimpanzees show a behind, but no clear face inversion effect. The findings suggest an evolutionary shift in socio-sexual signalling function from behinds to faces, two hairless, symmetrical and attractive body parts.”


Leiden University issued a press release that gives further colorful details.

The 2012 Ig Nobel Prize for anatomy was awarded to Frans de Waal and Jennifer Pokorny, for discovering that chimpanzees can identify other chimpanzees individually from seeing photographs of their rear ends. They describe that research, in the study “Faces and Behinds: Chimpanzee Sex Perception“, Frans B.M. de Waal and Jennifer J. Pokorny, Advanced Science Letters, vol. 1, 2008, pp. 99–103.

Frans de Waal was pleased to see his Ig Nobel-winning research confirmed by this new study, he told the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant: ‘Ik ben blij dat deze nieuwe studie dat bevestigt‘.

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Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, on Science Friday — The day-after-Thanksgiving tradition

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

scifrilogoThe Science Friday radio program will, for the 25th year, broadcast a specially edited version of the year’s Ig Nobel ceremony. In America, listening to the Ig on ScieFri on the day after Thanksgiving is a tradition. It’s the country’s biggest shared-experience science event.

When: Friday, November 25, 2016
Where: Public radio (in the USA), and on the internet
How/where to listen: The Science Friday website lists radio stations and broadcast times. Many of those stations also livestream on the net.

Start time: In most places, the Ig Nobel ceremony will be HOUR TWO of the two-hour-long Science Friday program. (In the Boston area, though, it will be HOUR ONE on WBUR-FM 90.9, beginning at 2 pm.) Do check your local station to be sure about their start time.

It’s fun to hear the golden voice of SciFri host Ira Flatow set the scene. And for us (the organizers of the ceremony) its both fun and excruciating, in a different way each year, to see how the SciFri editors manage to almost magically squeeze a 90-minute-long event down into a radio hour that’s 47 minutes (of content) long.

Please gather the family around the Bunsen burner, and join us in listening to the Ig, on Friday, on SciFri. You might want to do, with your family at home, what the audience at the ceremony does in Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre: make paper and fly airplanes, directed strategically and with safety foremost in mind. Here’s a photo of a few of the 1100 people in the the audience in Sanders Theatre:


The Ig Nobel book is now out in Traditional Chinese

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

And now, the traditional Chinese translation that you may have been waiting for: The Ig Nobel Prizes, by Marc Abrahams, ISBN 9789869189781.



Further prying insights on lying

Monday, October 24th, 2016

Ig Nobel Prize winner Dan Ariely and colleagues have a new study about lying: “The Brain Adapts to Dishonesty,” by Neil Garrett, Stephanie Lazzaro, Dan Ariely, and Tali Sharot, published in Nature Neuroscience.

A news report in Scientific American sums it up: “The team’s findings, published today in Nature Neuroscience, confirm in a laboratory setting that dishonesty grows with repetition. The researchers also used brain imaging to reveal a neural mechanism that may help explain why.”

Co-author Garrett describes what the team did and found, in this video:


Dan Ariely and three other colleagues were awarded the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize for medicine, for demonstrating that high-priced fake medicine is more effective than low-priced fake medicine. (Their study about that: “Commercial Features of Placebo and Therapeutic Efficacy,” Rebecca L. Waber; Baba Shiv; Ziv Carmon; Dan Ariely, Journal of the American Medical Association, March 5, 2008; 299: 1016-1017.)

BONUS: Two of this year’s Ig Nobel Prize winners did research on related topics: