Archive for 'News about research'

Effects of Parliamentary Elections on Suicide Rates in Hungary

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Professor David Lester, the world’s most prolific writer of short research studies about suicide, has a new study:

Effects of Parliamentary Elections on Suicide Rates in Hungary,” Tamás Zonda, Zoltán Kmetty, David Lester, Mónika Ditta Tóth, Crisis, epub 2015. The authors are at Hungarian Association for Suicide Prevention, Budapest, Hungary, Károli Gáspár University, Budapest, Hungary, The Richard Stockton College, Galloway, NJ, USA, and Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.

Professor Lester and his co-authors report that parliamentary elections have no significant effects on suicide rates in Hungary.

* * *

Professor Lester is one of the most prolific paper producers in all of academia. If you have a few spare hours, glance at the list of his publications up through the year 2012, at which time Professor Lester had authored or co-authored 2574 academic papers.

Reaction to an imagined feminist dating partner

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

There’s no need to imagine your reaction to reading about a study about people reacting to an imagined feminist dating partner. Simply read the following, then note down your actual reaction:

Power motivation as an influence on reaction to an imagined feminist dating partner,” Eugene M. Fodor, David P. Wick, and Nicole E. Conroy, Motivation and Emotion, vol. 36, no. 3, 2012, pp. 301-310.

“we conducted a simulated dating service experiment with college men who scored either high or low on the Picture Story Exercise (PSE) measure of power motivation and later observed a video displaying an interview with a hypothetical dating partner. From among the 203 men who completed the PSE, 96 took part in the experiment. The video presented an 8-min enactment by a young woman who came across either as an assertive feminist or as compliant and agreeable. Electromyographic responses from the corrugator supercilii (frown muscles) fit the premise of McClelland’s power-stress theory, as did scores on the Reysen Likability Scale and the Affective Attitudes Scale.”

BONUS (possibly unrelated): Marzi, C. A., F. Mancini, T. Metitieri, and S. Savazzi. “Retinal eccentricity effects on reaction time to imagined stimuli.” Neuropsychologia, 44, no. 8 (2006): 1489-1495.

Miss Poland’s Attractiveness: What, oh, what is enough?

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Leszek Pokrywka, co-author of the seminal study “The Second to Fourth Digit Ratio and Age at First Marriage in Semi-Nomadic People from Namibia” [featured here a while ago], also played a leading role in analyzing what makes and what does not make Miss Poland attractive:

Body mass index and waist: hip ratio are not enough to characterise female attractiveness,” Leszek Pokrywka, Milan Čabrić, Helena Krakowiak, Perception, 2006;35(12):1693-7. the authors explain:

“The assessment of characteristic body features of Miss Poland beauty contest finalists compared with the control group, can contribute to recognising the contemporary ideal of beauty promoted by the mass media. The studies of Playboy models and fashion models conducted so far have been limited to the following determinants of attractiveness: body mass index, waist:hip ratio, and waist:chest ratio, which only partially describe the body shape. We compared 20 body features of the finalists of Miss Poland 2004 beauty contest with those of the students of Medical Academy in Bydgoszcz. Discriminant analysis showed that the thigh girth-height index, waist: chest ratio, height, and body mass index had the greatest discrimination power distinguishing the two groups. A model of Miss Poland finalists figure assessment is presented which allows one to distinguish super-attractive women from the control group.”

The Miss Poland contest.

The Miss Poland contest.

BONUS: A video that addresses a question about the female attractiveness. (Thanks to investigator Lily Hashem for bringing this to our attention):

Demonstration of the physics of sheep through a bottleneck

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

A physics experiment of sheep passing through a bottleneck, which we featured some months ago, has now been formally published, and the researchers have released a video of the experiment. The study is:

Flow and clogging of a sheep herd passing through a bottleneck,” A. Garcimartín, J. M. Pastor, L. M. Ferrer, J. J. Ramos, C. Martín-Gómez, and I. Zuriguel, Physical Review E, vol. 91, no. 022808, 2015. (Thanks to Mason Porter and Ho-Kei Chan for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at la Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, report:

We present an experimental study of a flock passing through a narrow door. Video monitoring of daily routines in a farm has enabled us to collect a sizable amount of data. By measuring the time lapse between the passage of consecutive animals, some features of the flow regime can be assessed. A quantitative definition of clogging is demonstrated based on the passage time statistics. These display broad tails, which can be fitted by power laws with a relatively large exponent. On the other hand, the distribution of burst sizes robustly evidences exponential behavior. Finally, borrowing concepts from granular physics and statistical mechanics, we evaluate the effect of increasing the door size and the performance of an obstacle placed in front of it. The success of these techniques opens new possibilities regarding their eventual extension to the management of human crowds.

Here’s the video:

Magazine: The special TEETH issue is out

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

The special Teeth issue (vol. 21, no. 1) of the magazine (the Annals of Improbable Research) is now out!

Articles include:

…and more, more, more, including new helpings of “Improbable Medical Review”, “Boys Will Be Boys”, “Soft Is Hard”, and other outstandingly improbable research snippets from many fields and countries.

We encourage you to subscribe.

Mel (right) says it’s swell.