The Funniest Nobels Ever: Canadian Professor Among 2018 Ig Nobels Winners

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A study conducted by Lindie Liang, an assistant professor of business at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., just received an Ig Nobel award.

“We wanted to understand why subordinates retaliate when it’s bad for them,” explained Liang. “We all know yelling at our boss is bad for your career. So what’s the function of retaliation? Why do people keep doing it?”

Liang and her colleagues’ work focused on aggression at workplace and with the boss, and they concluded that an online voodoo doll releases all that furious thoughts – without getting people fired or in jail!

The virtual voodoo doll had the boss’ initials, and the angry subordinates could use pins, pliers and even fire to help them go through the rage. Bottom line: it worked, explained Liang, concluding that the participants’ “injustice perceptions are deactivated.” However, she recommends making workspace a stress-free and relaxed environment and not use a voodoo doll to take revenge on the boss.

The prize was even more hilarious, and it was sponsored by Annals of Improbable Research, a science humor magazine. Don’t get us wrong; these scientific discovery are not useless, they’re quite practical.

For example, we also found out that cannibalism is inefficient. Sorry, Hannibal Lecter…

A British archaeology lecturer, James Cole (Britain’s University of Brighton) won the Ig Nobel prize for a study on cannibalism. He concluded that human meat doesn’t come with many calories:

“We’re not super nutritious,” he explained.

He also said that no humans were used for the study, he just used a formula to find chemical composition and body part calorie counts on weight.

A pediatrician at Showa Inan General Hospital (Komagane, Japan), Dr. Akira Horiuchi won the prize after he concluded that it wasn’t difficult to give yourself a colonoscopy by using one designed for children:

“If people watch a video of my self-colonoscopy, they think colonoscopy is simple and easy.”

Uhm, no thanks, we’re fine!

Horiuchi concluded that it might be funny research, but these studies bring attention to researchers not to ignore serious issues, like the increase of incidence and mortality rate of colorectal cancer in Japan. His research could make people more willing to get a colonoscopy and help save lives.

The 28th annual ceremony was hosted at Harvard University, and real Nobel laureates handed out the prizes. The winners had to travel at their own expense, but they received a “huge” compensation: $10 trillion Zimbabwean dollars – less than 1 USD!

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Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.


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