Why teenagers get right up your nose

As the 21st century arrived, two distinguished psychiatrists offered mankind proof, written proof – in a study called A Preliminary Survey of Rhinotillexomania in an Adolescent Sample – that most teenagers pick their noses. Dr Chittaranjan Andrade and Dr BS Srihari, colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India, were […]

Hellish math in Alabama

In the early 1990s, the Southern Baptist Church of Alabama produced the first mathematics-driven estimates of how many people are going to hell. The estimates were a practical tool, a guide for where to concentrate the church’s evangelical efforts and where not to bother. Any well-run modern business does this. A company that sells insurance […]

Corporate tiers of a clown

Ronald McDonald is not just a clown who hawks hamburgers and chips. According to two scholars writing in the journal Leadership Quarterly, Ronald McDonald is also a transformational corporate leader. David M Boje, who holds the Bank of America Endowed Professorship of Management at New Mexico State University, and Carl Rhodes, associate professor in the […]

You bastard

I have just read what may be the most satisfying, most incisive academic study of the past century. It’s called You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation Within Organisations. Professor David Sims, who published it in the journal Organisation Studies, is head of the faculty of management at Cass Business School in […]

The tasting of the shrew

If you like shrews, especially if you like them parboiled, you’ll want to devour a study published not long ago in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Called Human Digestive Effects on a Micromammalian Skeleton, it explains how and why one of its authors – either Brian D Crandall or Peter W Stahl; we are not […]

Dr. Katz and the blue of insanity

The year 1931 stands out in the history of research about mentally ill people’s favourite colours. That summer, Siegfried E Katz of the New York state psychiatric institute and hospital published a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology called Colour Preference in the Insane. Assisted by a Dr Cheney, Katz tested 134 hospitalised patients […]

Why seeing red may be a load of bull

Bulls care little about the redness of a matador’s cape. Psychologists have been pretty sure about that since 1923, when George M Stratton of the University of California published a study called The Colour Red, and the Anger of Cattle. “It is probable,” Stratton opined, “that this popular belief arises from the fact that cattle, […]