Do Cats Sometimes Pay Some Attention to Their Owners? [Podcast 73]

The whether and when and how often of cats possibly paying attention to their owners is the main thing in this week’s Improbable Research podcast. Oh, and lots of Jean Berko Gleason and her cat, Foster. SUBSCRIBE on, iTunes, or Spotify to get a new episode every week, free. This week, Marc Abrahams  — with dramatic readings by Boston University psychologist Jean Berko Gleason — […]

Weight-lifting enhances museum exhibit appreciation (study)

Attn. museum curators! If you were to ask your visitors to lift heavy weights whilst looking at exhibits, would their esthetic pleasure and appreciative comprehension increase? A recent study, published in frontiers in Psychology suggests that ‘Weight lifting can facilitate appreciative comprehension for museum exhibits’.  A research team from Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan, asked 42 […]

The man who drove, blinding himself, on Route 128 — for your safety

[Ig Nobel Prize winner] John Senders led a series of safety experiments in which he drove an automobile on Route 128 — the major highway that circles Boston to the west — while a visor repeatedly flapped down over his face, blinding him…. —so begins another Improbable Innovation nugget, which appears in its entirety on BetaBoston.

A most emotionally colorful study (plus eye blinks & nude bodies)

This study appears to combine the brightest aspects of phrenology, Jungian psychology,  painting-by-numbers, and numerous other disciplines: “Bodily maps of emotions,” Lauri Nummenmaa [pictured here], Enrico Glerean, Riitta Hari and Jari K. Hietanen, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 111 no. 2, January 14, 2014, pp. 646–651. The authors, at Aalto University, the […]

Do Women Pretend Orgasm to Retain a Mate?, and another question

Today is Two Questions Day. Question #1: Do some researchers choose topics to attract attention? Question #2: Do women pretend orgasm to retain a mate? The following study sheds light on at least one of today’s questions: “Do Women Pretend Orgasm to Retain a Mate?” Farnaz Kaighobadi, Todd K. Shackelford [pictured here] and Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford, Archives […]

Gorilla Ig Nobellian reviews Full-Bladder Winners

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: Is the […]

Press release about sex sex sex

The headline of this week’s Press Release of the Month is almost perfectly designed to attract attention. It’s from the University of Tennessee: Frequent sex protects marital happiness for neurotic newlyweds Los Angeles, CA (December 8, 2010) People who are neurotic often have more difficulty with relationships and marriage. But if neurotic newlyweds have frequent […]