Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dim Bulbs Equal Dumb Research

In today’s Topical Tuesday entry, you’ll find out that dim bulbs and dishonesty go hand-in-hand. And no, I don’t mean “that” kind of dim bulb…

You’ll be glad to know that the trend toward “dumb” research continues. “Dumb” research is the name I’m giving to scientific studies that waste precious money and precious time to find out something that everyone already knows.

This week’s dumb research report made it onto the MSNBC website on March 1, 2010, in a piece titled “Dim light makes people dishonest, study finds.” The study in question concluded that people are more likely to engage in immoral behaviors when they feel as though they are hidden. A stunning revelation! (http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/35647898/ns/health-behavior/)

(In another stunning revelation, the article neglects to cite the first experimenters to discover the connection between hiding and the decision-making process. I’m referring to the well-known scientific husband-and-wife team known as Adam and Eve, who not only tested hiding for themselves but also marketed a short-lived, ecologically “green” clothing line in conjunction with their study.)

Today, however, scientific studies are conducted in a more professional and far more rigorous manner with the most effective test subjects known to science—college students.

In one test, 84 students were put in dimly lit or brightly lit rooms, asked to do math, score their results, and then reward themselves by paying themselves 50 cents for each correct answer. In the dimly lit room, more students took more money than they were entitled to. Personally, I suspect the kids in the study paid themselves the wrong amount because they don’t know how to add without a calculator. But I’m not paid the big bucks to conduct scientific studies, so what do I know?

In another study, students wearing sunglasses were more likely to cheat people out of money than students wearing clear glasses, because the dark glasses made them feel more anonymous. Believe it or not, this finding actually confirms the results of a previous study, which proved that when people wear hoods, they’re more likely to engage in crime. I’m not sure if the “hood” study was conducted on a college campus or at the local police department, but I suppose that detail doesn’t matter.

While no practical applications from the aforementioned studies have been officially released, I’d like to offer my own, unofficial suggestion for concerned citizens throughout this great country of ours. If you find yourself in a dark room with someone wearing a hood and sunglasses, run like hell!

(I think that earns me my 50 cents for today.)

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.


  1. Good one! Maybe we can get paid to do a study on dumb studies.

  2. Commonsense. Where is it? - Karla.


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