Six Surprising Studies

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Here are the surprising results of six studies, conducted by researchers who, one might surmise, had a fair amount of time on their hands.

#1: Redheads Feel More Pain


Dr. Daniel Sessler of the University of Louisville and his colleagues recently administered electric shocks to ten volunteer redheads and ten volunteer brunettes, along with a measurable numbing anesthetic. They discovered that to lower the pain to a certain measurable level, the redheads required a 20 percent greater dose of the anesthetic. (For reasons not disclosed by the university, blondes were not included in this research project.)

Courtesy of B.T.W., Toronto, Ontario

#2: How Best to Skip a Stone


After exhaustive testing at a local pond, researchers from the Tohoku University Department of Physics in Japan have determined that the best way to skip a stone across water (i.e., get more skips per throw) is for the thrower to tilt said stone precisely 20 degrees to the lake’s surface. (This confirmed the results of French experiments conducted a few years ago.)

Courtesy of R.T.L., Dallas, Texas

#3: Old People Aren’t Grumpy


Two studies conducted by the University of Michigan—one involving more than 1,000 people of various ages—have resulted in the conclusion that older people have less negative emotion and behave less aggressively than younger people. “When [older people] feel upset,” reported one of the researchers, “they’re more likely to wait to see if things improve rather than yell or argue.”

#4: The Color Red is for Winners (Maybe)


British researchers at the University of Durham, after a yearlong study, have concluded that wearing red increases the chance of victory in sporting events. (On the other hand, a representative of William Hill, a leading betting company in England, called the study “absolute rubbish.”)

#5: There’s a Nose Spray That Makes People Give Away Money


As reported by CBC News, researchers at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, sprayed the noses of 178 male volunteers who were playing an investment game with real money. Some were dosed with a substance containing the hormone oxytocin; the others, with a placebo. Directly afterward, it was found that those whose noses had been sprayed with oxytocin were far more trusting and willing to give away their money than they were before the spraying and also far more trusting and willing to give away their money than those sprayed with the placebo.

#6: Beware of a Man’s Index Finger


After measuring the fingers of 298 men and women, researchers at the University of Alberta, Canada, concluded that the shorter a man’s index finger as compared to his ring finger, the more physically aggressive he is likely to be. (Female finger-length ratios showed no correlation with any of the measures used.)

So, were you surprised?

About The Author

Judson D. Hale Sr.

Jud Hale is the honorary Editor-in-chief of The Old Farmer’s Almanac; Jud was the 12th editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac (since 1792!) and joined the parent company Yankee Publishing in 1958 as an Assistant Editor. Read More from Judson D. Hale Sr.

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