Understatement of the Week: Paul Eastwick

By ANTHONY HALL, United Press International  |  Jan. 8, 2012 at 3:30 AM
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Remember the Ig Noble Awards? Are they called Iggies?

The Ig Noble Awards are given out each year at Harvard University by the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR), a humor magazine that celebrates absurdities in science.

The awards are to honor experiments "that cannot, or should not, be reproduced."

This week, two possible nominations appeared. In the first, a team at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, studied whether binge drinking by one person in a romantic relationship can create or contribute to binge drinking by the other member of the relationship.

Here's a better question: Can painfully obvious studies be a predictor for next year's funding? Stay tuned.

Researchers at Northwestern University and Texas A&M co-authored a study released this past week that found people who are dating are more attracted to physical beauty than they like to admit.

"People will readily tell you what they value in a romantic partner," said coauthor Eli Finkel, an associate professor of psychology at Northwestern.

"But study after study shows that those preferences don't predict whom daters are actually attracted to when they meet flesh-and-blood partners. Now we can get under the hood with this quirky methodology to see what people actually prefer in live-interaction settings."

Indirectly, the study also revealed some researchers don't leave their offices very often.

As if studying the obvious wasn't understatement enough, "If a person tells me, for example, that she doesn't care about how attractive a guy is, our research suggests that her claim isn't worth all that much," said Paul Eastwick, assistant professor of psychology at Texas A&M University.

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