24 Strange Scientific Studies – mental_floss on YouTube – List Show (312)

24 Strange Scientific Studies – mental_floss on YouTube – List Show (312)

Hi I’m John Green. Welcome to my salon.
This is Mental Floss on YouTube and did you know that in 2010, a researcher trained pigeons
to tell the difference between “good” and “bad” paintings by children? The pigeons
were positively reinforced when they pecked at good paintings. And after a while, they
were able to determine which ones were good, even observing color and pattern cues in paintings they’d never seen before. And that’s the first of many odd scientific
studies that I’m going to share with you today, in this video made possible by our friends at Geico A study was conducted at the Babraham Institute
to determine whether sheep were capable of recognizing the faces of other sheep. When
the study concluded in 2001, the researchers had discovered that sheep could recognize
the faces of 50 sheep about 80% of the time, and they remembered them for over two years. Which is much better than my own sheep facial recognition. In 2011, researchers at Albany Medical College
played songs by Beethoven and Miles Davis to rats, learning that they preferred silence,
but would rather hear Beethoven than Miles Davis. Then, the researchers injected some rats with
cocaine while listening to Miles Davis. Because you know, why not? At this point they weren’t even conducting a study they were just enjoying some jazz and dosing rats with cocaine, as you do. But anyway they learned that those rats preferred the jazz music, even after the cocaine
was out of their systems. Dr. Allan Walker Blair, an assistant professor
of pathology and bacteriology at the University of Alabama, allowed a black widow spider to
bite him in the 1930s. There was little research on the spider at the time, so he wanted to
document his experience with the bite. Unsurprisingly, he discovered that it caused what he described
as “excruciating” pain. For the record, he lived, but died of cardiac arrest about a decade later, which was probably related to the experience. Speaking of horrible experiments performed
on oneself, in the nineties, veterinarian Robert Lopez took ear mites from a cat’s
ear and placed them in his own ear. He was trying to determine whether humans could get mites
from cats. It turns out that we can, but he still repeated the experiment TWICE
and then got it published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. In the 1960’s at Penn State University,
an experiment was conducted on a male turkey to see how minimal a stimuli had to be for
it to be considered a mate. The researchers kept removing components of a turkey until
a turkey head on a stick. And the male turkey STILL tried to mate with it. A 2012 study found that human male athletes experienced
increases in testosterone in their saliva while doing squats after watching short videos
containing either “erotic, humorous, or aggressive” content. In 1976, a group of researchers did a study
to determine whether the speed and flow of men’s urination was affected by people being
too near them. And I can just tell you yes. But anyway, in order to do this, they left an observer with a periscope in a public restroom for extended periods of time. He found that the closer a man had to
pee next to another man, the longer it took for him to start urinating. He also peed on average less if someone was standing next to him. Speaking of urine-related studies, Peter Snyder,
a professor of neurology at Brown University, discovered that people who have to pee really
badly actually have increased levels of cognitive impairment. The study cost him a total of
$1.25 to complete. In 2012, a group of psychologists found that
“leaning to the left makes the Eiffel Tower seem smaller.” Basically, when people are
leaning, their ability to estimate things like quantity and size is affected because
we tend to assume that smaller things go on the left and larger ones belong on the right. It may be a result of bias among people who read from left to right Which we should follow up with a study of people who read right to left and see what happens when they lean right. I just gave you an idea for a study, SCIENCE. A paper published in 2004 out of the Zoology
Institution of Stockholm University is well-summed-up by the title: “Chickens prefer beautiful
humans.” It turns out that chickens tend to peck at faces that humans also prefer and
consider beautiful. It’s a good thing all those chickens live in Sweden because Swedish people are very beautiful. I’m sure that chickens enjoy just pecking their faces constantly. Dr. Anna Wilkinson of the University of Lincoln
in the UK trained a red-footed tortoise to yawn in order to research social cognition
in tortoises. Over the course of six months in 2011, Wilkinson and her team taught the
tortoise to yawn on command, though they didn’t observe contagious yawning when they had the
tortoise yawn around other members of its species. In 2003, the journal Polar Biology published
a paper on the trajectory of penguins’ projectile poop. Apparently, penguins poop that way because
of gastrointestinal pressure. And in case you’re wondering, the poop lands an average
of 40 cm away from the penguin. So watch out WonderWoman! In the early 1900s, Romanian scientist Nicolae
Minovici hung himself TWELVE times for up to 25 seconds, with an assistant nearby. He survived and was able to observe firsthand a lot of the symptoms of hanging, like vision problems and ringing
in the ears. At the University of Minnesota in 2004, scientists
discovered that it’s just as easy to swim in syrup as it is to swim in water. In order
to conduct the experiment, they filled a 25-meter swimming pool with a liquid made of guar gum
(a liquid twice as thick as water). Turns out that you can swim in it just fine. Why do we need to know this? Well why do we need to know anything, really? In 1986, eleven Russian men spent 370 days
lying down in bed. The experiment was to help with future space expeditions because the
year in bed simulated weightlessness. The U.S. has conducted some dubious sleep
experiments too. In the early 1900s, Dr. Nathaniel Kleitman had six men stay awake for days to
see the symptoms. But, HE stayed awake for longer than any of them when he forced himself
to stay awake for 115 hours, causing hallucinations. He also once lived underground for six weeks,
trying to adjust to a twenty-eight-hour day. So you know, he was a fun guy to hang out with, I bet. During the early 2000s, an argument over whether
actor Steve Buscemi was cool prompted researchers Ilan Dar-Nimrod and Ian Hansen to research
what characteristics make a person “cool.” They surveyed 353 college students and determined
some of the qualities, like being good-looking, friendly, and successful. Or being the star of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. In 2013, a group of researchers joined forces
and asked people at bars to rate their own attractiveness. They found that the higher
the BAC of people, the higher they rated themselves on attractiveness. The study “Patient Preference for Waxed or
Unwaxed Dental Floss” was published in 1990. And since I KNOW you’re wondering, around
79% of subjects preferred waxed dental floss and around 21% unwaxed. At the National University of Quilmes in 2007,
scientists found that hamsters recovered 50% faster from shifts in their daily time cycles
when they were given Viagra. That means that Viagra could potentially help people with
jet lag. In the seventies and eighties, professors
at Florida State University studied the reactions of men and women when a stranger approached
them and asked, “Would you go to bed with me?” The majority of men said yes whereas
every single woman said no. Because they aren’t crazy, who would say yes to that question? Like did you ask do you have chlamydia first? There have been multiple studies on whether
owners looked like their dogs. Although we all know that they do. Like, in 2004, Michael Roy and Nicholas Christenfeld had
participants match pictures of owners with pictures of their dogs. The participants were
right 64% of the time. ALSO Roy and Christenfeld found that people had a much easier time matching
pure-breds with their owners, rather than mixed breeds. And if I can just make a personal comment here Both Mental Floss director Mark and Mental Floss writer Meredith look exactly like their dogs. I on the other hand in no way resemble mine. Finally, I return to the
salon to tell you about a similar study. During
the eighties, psychologist Robert Zajonc discovered that married couples start to look like each other over
time. To prove this, he gave participants a bunch of photographs of single faces — 24
were pictures of individuals in a couple when they first got married and 24 were of the
same people, but 25 years later. Then, he asked participants to match up pictures of
men with the women who looked most like them. There was significantly more resemblance in
the couples after twenty-five years; and participants could match them much easier. Which is good news for me, because it means I’m going to get lot cuter in the next 15 years. Thanks for watching this episode of Mental
Floss on YouTube, which was brought to you by our friends at Geico and made with the help of all these nice people, who work so hard on this show every week. So thanks to them, thanks to you for watching, and as we say in my hometown DFTBA!


  1. The rats were injected with cocaine WHILE listening to Miles Davis. This just means that they now associate Miles Davis with the high. They will no forever like Miles Davis

  2. … I own a miniature dachshund. I am not sure how to take the fact that I look like a mini dapple dachshund.

  3. given a safe place I can stay awake for 120 hours. ย All I need is a place big enough for me to run without cars and plenty of food and soda.

  4. on the rats liking Miles Davis experiment I think what it proves is why people think their music is great and other's music sucks. ย If you associate any music with something that gives you a lot of dopamine you will like that music above others. ย So rock is not better that pop you just did way more drugs listening to it.

  5. Something I've noticed about couples, they reflect one anothers appearance. In most cases, if a couple is is in good shape and fit, their other half will be too. If a couple is on the heavier side, their other half will be too. If a couple is anywhere in between, you guessed it, their other half will be almost exactly the same.

  6. I think that it is natural for married couples to look somewhat alike after years of living together as they are usually exposed to the same environment (climate, pollution rate, etc) and the same food.

  7. "Why do we need to know anything, really?"
    Survival. Everything else we learn is merely human curiosity.

  8. It's great to go to school in sweden! Though for many reasons, it can be a litlle over wellming with beutiful girls all around me. I've had many crushes but swedish guys like me are just to shy. Oh btw I'm just 14 years old, so there's probably many crushes to come, if I don't ask out my current crush of cource

  9. On number 15, the definition of syrup used in those experiments was much less viscous than what a layperson might call syrup, but mythbusters did some experiments with much higher viscosities, and came to similar conclusions as the original experimenters

  10. "Why do we need to know anything, really?"
    Spoken like a true liberal arts major! (And all the science majors cringed.)

  11. I actually thought that the doctor was bitten by a black widow (woman) in some horrible racist experiment. I was very disappoint to learn it was the black widow spider

  12. "Welcome to my salon!"
    (sits in salon for entire episode)
    "And finally, I return to my salon …*

    Something I have never quite understood. :/

  13. I would love to see some links to these studies in the description. Quite a few piqued my interest.

  14. The chickens prefer beautiful faces study is a terrible terrible experiment and has been widely attacked and discredited.

  15. 2:26 Male turkeys will mate with a head on a stick
    /Male YouTubers are just about the same way. Only with boobs.

  16. 5:21 NASA did a study similar to the russian one a couple of years ago. I tried to sign up for it but because I lived in PR at the time I was ineligible

  17. Ah, the infamous creepypasta Russian Sleep Experiment… Is apparently based on a real and mundane thing.

  18. Very informative; don't forget the embedded humor while talking about those interesting topics! Watching these videos has definitely been added to my weekly to do list!!

  19. Why do you sound like you're sick in all your videos for the last couple months? I feel sorry for you when even though you're fine, hope you actually are fine and not sick.

  20. Believe it or not there are good reasons for most of these experiements. I have read many of the original studies.

  21. So, is John's pronunciation of "zoology" correct at #11 (3m52s)? He says it like zoo-ology (with 4 o's), I thought it's pronounced like zo-ology.

  22. Dear Americans (and a few others).

    Please stop saying "poop".ย  It makes you sound like you're three.

    "Poo" is not an offensive word, and not offensive to hear.ย  If you don't like saying "Feces", then say "Poo".ย  But for the love of David Lawrence, stop saying "Poop".

    Mature People

  23. There was also a study where CIA agents hired prostitutes and instructed them to secretly drug their clients with various substances(including LSD) and then observed them through a one-way glass. The study was named Operation Midnight Climax.

  24. the right to left study has been done with similar results! I cant remember who the study was by but we discussed it during my memory and perception topic at uni this year ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Reasons couples look alike: Because people tend to date and marry people that carry similar characteristics to their parents, generally speaking. So of course, after 25 years, those characteristics are going to come out more.

    The "Why" on this is not well studied, Freud was convinced everyone wanted to bang their parents, but in reality, it's much more likely to be a simple case of comfort, people tend to gravitate towards that which was most nurturing, or indeed what Should have been in some cases.

  26. Possibility on the matching people and dogs study: how much of the person was visible? If you could see how they were dressed, you could take personality cues to match them with the dog breed. Matching mutts to people, however, would be harder to do, since there aren't as many stereotypes about what kind of person owns a mutt.

  27. My grandfather did the study on men's urinals. "Personal Space Invasions in the Lavatory: Suggestive Evidence for Arousal."

    I should add that he was the one with the periscope.

  28. How can you judge a little kid's art when Pablo Picasso produces chicken scratch? my 7 year old niece can draw a masterpiece compared to "Don Quixote".

  29. I now wonder if people (like myself), who are "night people" due to their individual circadian rhythm, but are forced to wake up at the unholy hour of 5.30 am to get to work each morning, might benefit from Viagra therapy…

  30. I bet that research proposal was amazing. "We're gonna need some Miles Davis records, maybe some Behtovan, a few dozen rats, and as much coke as you can supply. No, not the soda."

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