Have you ever heard of the Ig Nobel Prize? The Ig Nobel Prize is a parody of the Nobel Prize, founded by the ‘Annals of Impossible Research’, an American humor science magazine. The Ig Nobel Prize, a neologism created by combining "ignoble," which means "disgraceful," and “nobel”, is given to those who have done scientific research that began with interesting or eccentric ideas that others would not do. <Let me read you the Ig Nobel Prize> is a book that combines the video of CJ ENM's knowledge curating YouTube channel ‘The Sapiens Studio’, which contains a review and discussion of past Ig Nobel Prize-winning studies. Let's take a closer look about the Ig Nobel Prize through this book.
Can we make better decisions if we hold our urine?
This is a study by the team of Professor Mirjam A.Tuk, who won the 2011 Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine. ‘When we have to make important decisions, we can make smarter decisions by holding back urine’, is a myth that has long been floating around the Internet. The researchers designed the experiment to verify if this was true.
In first experiment, researchers made half of the participants drink 700ml of water and the other half drink nothing. The intensity of their urination was then checked in steps 1 to 7. Then, they conducted a Stroop test. A Stroop test is a test that determines how well a person can control an instinctive impulse by having participants read errors that do not match the color and meaning of a word, such as in a photo. As a result, the participants received much higher scores when they performed the Stroop test while holding back urine.
Secondly, participants were asked 'Are you going to get 16 euros right now or get 30 euros after a month?', in the same situation as the first experiment. The researchers assumed that receiving 30 euros a month later is better from an economic perspective than receiving 16 euros immediately.
As a result, all those who drank 700ml of water and were holding their urine said they would receive 30 euros after a month. People couldn’t have thought of many things at once while holding their urine, so they made choices focusing only on economic benefits rather than other needs.
The researchers concluded that holding urine makes them effectively control other impulses and helps them to get right choices through these experiences. This study suggests that holding urine helps you to develop concentration and cognitive skills, beyond having a positive effect on decision-making.
Morning people are nice, and night owls are bad?
The following is a study that won the Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology in 2014. Peter K. Johnason hypothesized that ‘the night person has a darker personality.’ after reflecting on the question, ‘Why do the villains and dark heroes in cartoons and movies usually work at night?’
In psychology, the dark personalistic aspects of humans mainly refer to narcissism, psychopaths, and Machiavellianism. If a person is a morning person, he or she often talks to people because he or she is active during the day, and naturally develops social ability and cooperative skills. On the other hand, if someone is a night person, he or she focuses more on his or her world than others because he or she usually works alone at the middle of the night. So, he or she does not feel the need to be considerate of others. However, this is only a difference, and even if you are a night person, it does not mean that you are a defective person in personality. Johnason found something more important than this: the mutual relation between sleeping hours and personality.
Let's imagine you've been up all night and going to school. You will be able to imagine yourself tired all day and making a lot of mistakes. In fact, Johnason observed students taking college interviews for years, and as a result, students who did not sleep well due to nervousness answered questions correctly, but revealed their usual bad habits, such as crossing legs and touching hair. This lack of sleep makes it difficult to control oneself, and bad habits are likely to be revealed, even if it does not interfere with logic and calculation skills. If this persists, it is likely to eventually become a personality trait and affect everyday life.
What should we do to prevent these problems? The author of this book emphasizes to have a sleeping hour that suits you. The best sleep time varies person by person. So, it is good to write a ‘sleep diary’ to figure out this. In a sleep diary you write down what you did and how you felt in detail like a normal diary, and at the end of the page, record the sleeping time of the previous day. In this way, you can easily see how your condition gets worse when you couldn't sleep and how many hours you must sleep to maintain your best condition. The researcher stressed that it is important to know the sleep pattern that suits you and have a more fruitful day, rather than trying to be a morning person by force.
So far, we have learned about two Ig Nobel Prize winning studies introduced in the book. These studies may seem useless right now, but they may be considered as a great achievement far into the future. In addition, if you look closely, it suggests an important message for human life.
Compared to the Nobel Prize, the Ig Nobel Prize is open to anyone because there are no restrictions on the field of research and the criteria for screening are unique. If you often have unusual ideas that others don't, why don't you challenge yourself to win the Ig Nobel Prize right now?
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