How to Begin a Scientific Report: Headless, Topless

Here’s one way to begin a scientific report. Grab the reader’s attention:

Real faces, real emotions: perceiving facial expressions in naturalistic contexts of voices, bodies and scenes,” Beatrice de Gelder [pictured here] and Jan Van den Stock, in A.J. Calder, G. Rhodes, J.V. Haxby & M.H. Johnson (Eds.), The handbook of face perception. Oxford: Oxford University Press. The authors, at Tilburg University, The Netherlands, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA, and KU Leuven, Belgium, begin:

“For a while ‘Headless Body in Topless Bar’ counted as one of the funniest lines to have appeared in US newspapers. But headless bodies and bodiless heads figure only in crime catalogues and police reports and are not part of our daily experience, at the very least not part of the daily experience that constitutes the normal learning environment in which we acquire our face and body perception expertise. Yet, except for a few isolated studies, the literature on face recognition has not yet addressed the issue of context effects in face perception. By ‘context’ we mean here the whole naturalistic environment that is almost always present when we encounter a face.”

BONUS: The original newspaper headline, in the New York Post:

BONUS [via Wesley Coll]: ‘Headless Body in Topless Bar’ killer seeks release from prison