Archive for 'News about research'

Dirty Hands Make Dirty Leaders? (study)

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Florien Cramwinckel Msc (Utrecht University, The Netherlands) researches how people respond to the moral behavior of others. As part of this remit, an experiment was devised in which 78 participants demonstrated how dirtiness versus cleanliness might influence moral behavior in leader–subordinate relationships :-

“They were asked touch, smell, and evaluate a dirty (fake poop) or clean (hygienic cleansing wipe) product and answer several questions about this product. These questions were how ‘‘handy,’’ ‘‘pretty,’’ ‘‘functional,’’ ‘‘nice,’’ ‘‘clean,’’ ‘‘dirty,’’ ‘‘useless,’’ ‘‘weird,’’ ‘‘funny,’’ and ‘‘realistic’’ they thought this product was (1 = not at all, 7 = completely). They also answered to what extent they would like to have this product, if they thought this product smelled nice, if they thought this product felt clean, if they would buy this product in a store and if they felt dirty after touching this product (1 = not at all, 7 = completely).”

Subsequent evaluation of the experimental results showed, amongst other things that :-

“ […] subtle cues such as bodily sensations can shape moral decision-making and behavior in leader–subordinate relationships, but selfinterest, as a core characteristic of interdependence, can override the influence of such cues on the leader’s moral behavior.”

See: Dirty Hands Make Dirty Leaders?! The Effects of Touching Dirty Objects on Rewarding Unethical Subordinates as a Function of a Leader’s Self-Interest. Journal of Business Ethics, Volume 115, Issue 1, pp 93-100,

Le Monde celebrates the work of double-Ig-Nobellian Toshi Nakagaki

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Le Monde celebrates the work of two-time Ig Nobel Prize winner Toshi Nakagaki [here auto-translated from French to English]. The report begins:

When ‘the blob’ develops according to the Tokyo rail network

In the small community of blob enthusiasts, Toshiyuki Nakagaki is a reference. But his fame goes far beyond that. His work on the unicellular Physarum polycephalum [slime mold] has earned him two IgNobels. Certainly, this award is not worth its prestigious elder. But to win this award – a mixture of incongruity and seriousness – is worth its weight in notoriety. So, twice …

In 2008, the jury first awarded the scientist of the University of Hokkaido for demonstrating that Physarum could emerge from a labyrinth. For an organism without brain or neurons, there was already enough to impress. Two years later, the Japanese biologist made even stronger: he highlighted the incredible ability of the blob to realize effective networks. For this, he reproduced, on a plaque covered with agar gel, the map of the Tokyo area. More precisely, he deposited oatmeal on the thirty-six main localities and installed the unicellular instead of the central station. And he waited….

Do Pimples Pay? Apparently they do (new study)

Friday, June 16th, 2017

“We find that the shock of having acne is positively associated with overall grade point average in high school, grades in high-school English, history, math, and science, and the completion of a college degree.“

– explain Professor Hugo Mialon (Emory University) and Professor Erik Nesson (Ball State University) who are the authors of a new study which, for the first time, explores the relationship between having acne and subsequent academic and workplace success.

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) , the authors discovered an association – and, having found the association, they go on to speculate that perhaps the ‘decreased socialization’ associated with acne might (somehow) lead to higher educational performance and attainment.

See: ‘Do Pimples Pay? Acne, Human Capital, and the Labor Market’ Emory University Working Paper, May 2017

Also see: Wedding spending and marriage duration, linked? (co-authored by professor Mialon).

Photo (detail): courtesy Roshu Bangal, Wikipedia







The Theory That Lesbians Evolved to Please Men [research study]

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Researchers in Cyprus gathered info about men’s sexual desire for lesbians. Then, having satisfied their desire to collect that info, the researchers explained what it means to them. The study is:

The evolution of female same-sex attraction: The male choice hypothesis,” Menelaos Apostolou [pictured here], Marios Shialos, Michalis Khalil, and Vana Paschali, Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 116, 2017, pp. 372–378.

The authors, at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, explain: “this paper proposed a theoretical framework where, during the period of human evolution, same-sex attractions in women were under positive selection. The source of positive selection has been male preferences for opposite-sex sex partners who experienced same-sex attractions.”

Apostolou, Shialos, Khalil, and Paschali gathered data: “This theoretical framework was used to generate four predictions that were tested in two online studies which employed a total of 1509 heterosexual participants. ”

Apostolou, Shialos, Khalil, and Paschali explain that the data confirms their expectations about what some men find sexually attractive about some women sometimes:

“It was found that… a considerable proportion of heterosexual men desired partners who experienced same-sex attractions. In addition, it was found that men were more sexually excited than women by the same-sex infidelity of their partners, and they desired more than women, their opposite-sex partners to have sex with same-sex individuals. Finally, participants’ preferences were contingent on the seriousness of the relationships, with same-sex attraction to be preferred more in short-term than in a long-term partner.”

Apostolou, Shialos, Khalil, and Paschali arrive at a new understanding about evolution:

“These findings were employed in understanding the evolutionary origins of same-sex attraction in women…. Men’s desire for women who are attracted to other women selects for women who are attracted to other women. In turn, male desires, along with factors such as arranged marriage, which weakened the negative fitness costs of same-sex attraction, can explain the relatively high frequency of this trait in the population.”

BONUS: The newspaper El País supplies its own interpretation of this study, pointing out that “no homosexual woman has been interviewed in this study.”

Schmutz: White Wine Invites Melanoma, and Coffee Discourages It?

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Drinking alcohol — specifically, drinking white wine — may increase your change of getting melanoma, but drinking coffee may decrease your chance. That’s what this new study suggests. The study does not suggest, though we do, that you spend a few minutes exploring the ways that someone might find seemingly interesting things by the process known as “torturing the data.”

Here is the study: “Mélanome: alcool ou café, il faut choisir [Alcohol or coffee to help keep melanoma at bay],” Jean-Luc Schmutz, Annales de Dermatologie et de Vénéréologie, 2017. The author is at Hôpital de Brabois, Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France.

Here is Doctor Schmutz: