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18 Bizarre Research Papers That Will Surprise You With Their Unusual Subjects

13. Do teenagers pick their noses a lot?

image: giphy

Asking all the important questions in life. In case you are one of the many people who were kept up at night by the mystery of teenage nose-picking antics, we will put you out of your misery: Yes, they do. At least according to C.Andrade  and B. S. Srihari who published their paper  “A preliminary survey of rhinotillexomania in an adolescent sample” in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. The results are as shocking as you would expect from a study like this: adolescents engage in rhinotillexomania…a lot.(source)

14. Who is most likely to have belly button fluff?

belly button
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University of Sydney’s very own Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki conducted an international survey on Belly Button Lint (BBL) in an effort to understand the quantity and quality of people’s bellybutton lint. He discovered that older, hairy males with innies were more likely to have belly button lint. TMI, Dr.Kruszelnicki?(source)

15. Does highlighting prevent you from understanding what you are reading?

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When you buy a book and it comes with highlighted text, does it affect your ability to learn from the text? Hell yes, say V. Silvers and D. Kreiner in their dissertation “The effects of pre-existing inappropriate highlighting on reading comprehension” published in Literacy Research and Instruction. Over-highlighting affects cognition in a negative way, and indeed prevents one from effectively learning the matter.(source)


16. How much surface area does an Indian elephant have?

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24 adult Indian elephants were taken for the experiment by K.P. Sreekumar and G. Nirmalan for their research. The findings were published in a journal called Veterinary Research Communication. They apparently covered a surprisingly large amount of surface area, if that wasn’t obvious enough already. At least somebody is doing the math.(source)

17. Does country music cause people to commit suicide?

country music
image source: giphy

Steven Stack’s “The Effect of Country Music on Suicide” shows that the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white suicide rate (remember, Internet: correlation is not the same thing as causation). This effect is not dependent on gun availability, divorce, southernness and poverty. Glad we got that out of the way.(source)

18. Do Aliens kidnap people? What do they do with them?

alien abduction
image credits: David Levenson / Corbis

Get your tin-foil hats ready for this one, guys.

The well known UFOologist and American Historian David Jacobson came out with startling declarations in his paper, “Secret Life: Firsthand Accounts of UFO Abductions”. He claimed that aliens abducted human beings and conducted advanced experiments on the human reproductive system. These experiments, according to his research, apparently involved conception, gestation or incubation of humans and alien hybrids.

The revised edition of his dissertation was published as The UFO Controversy in America by Indiana University Press in 1975. It was completely sold out, and a French translation soon followed.(1,2)


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