Silly Science Sunday

This week in Silly Science:

*Attractive young psychology professor is stunned to discover that “it sucks to be rejected based on how you look.”

Three new studies spearheaded by University of Buffalo Assistant Professor Lora Park provide the “first known evidence that some people anxiously expect that they will be rejected by others because of their physical appearance,” according to a January 27 article in Science Daily. But wait that’s not all: Park’s research also suggests that people who deem themselves unattractive are “preoccupied with their body and weight in unhealthy ways.”

Next Park will launch a study designed to determine the perfect ratio of richness to thinness.

*And a researcher from Sweden’s Linkoping University has determined that when it comes to McDonald’s “individual results may vary.” “Bothered by the unscientific nature” of the 2004 film Super Size Me, Dr. Fredrik Nystrom spent the past year subjecting 18 volunteers to the same gag-inducing diet Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock followed in his movie. To his great surprise, Nystrom discovered that eating mass quantities of junk food affected each participant differently. While one volunteer gained 15 percent body weight after following the high-choleric diet for a month, several others experienced only minimal weight gain. Nystrom was thus forced to conclude that “some people are just more susceptible to obesity than others.”

I have two words for you, Dr. Nystrom: No duh.


  1. #1 coturnix
    January 28, 2007

    Hey, she is just a grad student – make fun of her advisor.

  2. #2 BenP
    January 28, 2007

    Wow, I don’t know how young undergrad can be concentrated in her class !

  3. #3 coturnix
    January 29, 2007

    Oh, she did finish and got hired by Buffalo. Sorry. OK, blame her!

  4. #4 csrster
    January 29, 2007

    When you finally give up on getting that Nobel, then it’s time to start working on earning that IgNoble.

  5. #5 Lee Ann
    January 29, 2007

    Remember the grad student who wrote his dissertation on why shower curtains float inward while you bathe?

  6. #6 pdonovan
    January 30, 2007

    As I said in my previous response to your self-promulgated Web-wide assertions about the research of Dr.Lora Park, whose attractiveness seems to be stuck in your craw,
    she is a highly regarded scientist whose work is published in reputable scientific journals. It is neither silly nor obvious, and I must question why you are so hell-bent on mocking science whose implications you dismiss out of hand because you do not understand them.

    Although it has long been recognized that one’s self perception of attractiveness has implications for self esteem, the studies in question uncovered a heretofore unrecognized PATHOLOGICAL CONDITION that provokes great anxiety and depression in certain individuals who EXPECT be rejected by others out of hand as unattractive even when there is no objective reason for this expectation. Park invented a way to measure the disorder, validated its use, found that those affected are much more likely to have eating disorders than others, and arrived at ways to mitigate ththis condition, thus suggesting new treatment modalities for eating disorders. I would be happy to send you the study.

  7. #7 Orli
    January 30, 2007

    Well, PDonovan, I must tell you that I’ve never received this purported “previous response.” My guess is that you’re confusing me with another blogger. As for my “web-wide” assertions, they’ve only appeared here — on my website — so I’m not entirely sure what your complaint is.

    Lora Park may very well be “a respected scientist” and I have no issue with her–or her looks. That does not, however, change the fact that her research illustrates a point that seems blindly obvious: it’s not fun to be unattractive (or believe that you are unattractive) and low self-esteem may have an averse impact on your self-esteem (and thus your eating habits). Just because I’m not “duly impressed” doesn’t mean that I’m dense.

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