Obvious, non-empirically

Elementary, sir
by Roopinder Singh

WE have tremendous capability of justifying whatever wrong we have done, I told my friend, obviously scoring a point in an ongoing conversation, while at the same time losing the argument by putting him on the defensive.

Though I do not have a systematic study to buttress my contention, I can provide anecdotal evidence to support what I said, and I dare say any scientific study of “Justifying the Unjustifiable” would find that my contention is a reasonable generalisation, provided the right methodology is used and proper people selected as samples.

A news item titled “Men in flashy cars make women go weak in the knees,” said that in an experiment, psychologists at the University of Wales showed images of the same man sitting in a silver Bentley Continental, then a red Ford Fiesta, to 120 women. The women found the male sitting in that prestigious car “more attractive”. Really? Did we need science to tell us that? Guys, forget fitness, get flashy cars instead!

An earlier study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that women find men with muscles more attractive. It took the scientists four years to arrive at this conclusion, though they also offered a consolation for us less muscled people-women felt that scrawny (wimpy?) men will be more faithful.

An Ohio State University study, funded by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, concluded that people who pay for cigarettes have less money. The following scientific observation was published in Tobacco Control: “While a causal relation cannot be proven, smokers appear to pay for tobacco expenditures out of income that is saved by non-smokers. Hence, reductions in smoking will boost wealth, especially among the poor.” A good tip for the IMF and World Bank in their “relentless” war on poverty.

There is a new twist to the “time is of the essence” adage. The time needed for a man to fall in love at first sight is 8.2 seconds, according to a scientific study published in the The Archives of Sexual Behavior, a journal and not a teenager’s diary. Men looked into the eyes of beautiful actresses for an average of 8.2 seconds, but that dropped to 4.5 seconds when gazing at less attractive ones. Girls, keep stopwatches handy, your future may depend on them!

National Institute of Drug Abuse Research-funded research on “Differential effects of cocaine and cocaine + alcohol on neurocognitive performance,” published in Neurology, found that two intoxicants are indeed worse than one, because they affect different brain functions. What next? A study to prove that mixing drinks gives you a hangover?

I am sure that scientists somewhere are empirically examining the obvious and gathering data about the kind of people who study studies to poke fun at them. They will certainly find that these people engage in such acts because they have nothing better to do. But, dear reader, we beat the best brains because the conclusion that they arrive at through rigorous scientific gathering of facts and brilliant deductions is something that we knew instinctively. Obviously!