Can a strong urge to urinate impair your ability to drive? Is yawning contagious? Will motorists stop double-parking if you threaten to flatten their cars with an armored tank?
The studies of these subjects might not win you a Nobel Prize. But they might win you an Ig Nobel — an award given to research that makes you laugh — and may even somehow benefit society.
“You probably wouldn’t think the need to urinate can impair you as much as being legally intoxicated,” said neurology professor Peter Snyder of Brown University, co-author of “The Effect of Acute Increase in Urge to Void on Cognitive Function in Healthy Adults.”
His work — based on giving human Guinea pigs a glass of water every 15 minutes and testing their brain functions — suggests that bar-goers should go to the bathroom before deciding if they’re in any condition to get behind a wheel.
Scientists from five continents gather tonight at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre before 1200 spectators for the “21th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony” — a zany event in which esteemed academics put on funny hats, fly paper airplanes and make fun of themselves.
The two were recognized for their idea, known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, which shows that people who perform worse on certain tasks tend to have overly flattering opinions of their ability to perform them.
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