Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Chris Chabris, who together with Dan Simons was awarded the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize in psychology (for their experiment in which people did not notice a gorilla) explores some recent books about how well the brain makes decisions.
In particular Professor Chabris appreciates the work of the 2011 Ig Nobel medicine prize winners:
… Other researchers have reported that subjects with full bladders exercised more self-control in a completely unrelated realm (financial decisions) than subjects who had been permitted to relieve themselves first — a finding that earned them this year’s Ig Nobel Prize in medicine, awarded annually to unusual or ridiculous-seeming scientific research.
The 2011 Ig was awarded to Mirjam Tuk (of THE NETHERLANDS and the UK), Debra Trampe (of THE NETHERLANDS) and Luk Warlop (of BELGIUM). and jointly to Matthew Lewis, Peter Snyder andRobert Feldman (of the USA), Robert Pietrzak, David Darby, and Paul Maruff (of AUSTRALIA) for demonstrating that people make better decisions about some kinds of things — but worse decisions about other kinds of things‚ when they have a strong urge to urinate.
Here’s video of a Simons experiment that builds on the Chabris/Simons gorilla experiment: