Ig Nobel Prize-winning swearing research wins best science book prize

Black Sheep: The Hidden Benefits of Being Bad, a new book by Richard Stephens, is the British Psychological Society’s Book Award winner — in the category Popular Science.bps-logo The BPS’s Book Awards have just been announced.

In the year 2010, Richard Stephens and two colleagues were awarded the Ig Nobel Peace Prize, for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain. That research is documented in the study  “Swearing as a Response to Pain,” Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston, Neuroreport, vol. 20 , no. 12, 2009, pp. 1056-60.

That same research forms part of the backbone of Richard Stephens’ (now prize-winning!) recent book, Black Sheep.

BONUS INFO: There is something of a tradition now of Ig Nobel Prize winners’ books winning prizes. One of the earliest examples: Chris McManus‘s book Right Hand, Left Hand, was awarded the 2003 Aventis Prize as best science book of the year. That book, Right Hand, Left Hand, grew mightily, over many years, from the research that eventually earned McManus the 2002 Ig Nobel Prize for biology. That Ig Nobel Prize was for McManus’s first published scientific paper: “Scrotal Asymmetry in Man and in Ancient Sculpture,” which appeared in the journal Nature, vol. 259, February 5, 1976, p. 426.