Happiness may not bring you more sex, but more sex makes you happier.

By Seriously Science | October 10, 2017 6:00 am
Image: Flickr/Victor Björkund

Image: Flickr/Victor Björkund

The pursuit of happiness is a tricky journey. Things that seem like they might make you happy don’t (e.g. money), and things that you’ve been told time and again will make you happy, like chatting with friends, need to be done right. Here, scientists wanted to understand about the relationship between happiness and sex.
To do this, they had 152 adults keep diaries to record their sexual activity and happiness levels. Turns out that being happy does not lead to more sex, but (hooray!) sex does make you happier, for at least 24 hours. Let’s do this.

Sexuality Leads to Boosts in Mood and Meaning in Life With No Evidence for the Reverse Direction: A Daily Diary Investigation.

“Sex is rarely discussed in theories of well-being and rarely empirically examined using methods other than cross-sectional surveys. In the present study, a daily diary approach was used (for 21 days with 152 adults) to explore the relationship between the presence and quality of sexual episodes and well-being (positive affect, negative affect, meaning in life). Read More

Flashback Friday: Sorry, science says cats simply can’t love you the way dogs can.

By Seriously Science | October 6, 2017 6:00 am
Image: Flickr/Alan Huett

Image: Flickr/Alan Huett

We’re pretty sure this post is going to be hated by all the feline fanciers out there, but this study is just too good not to share. Here, researchers applied a test developed for use with children to investigate the relationships between cats and their humans. The SST can determine whether children, and apparently animals, view their caregivers as a source of safety in a threatening environment. It turns out that using this metric, dogs are “securely attached” to their owners, but cats are “not necessarily dependent on others to provide a sense of security and safety.” But that doesn’t mean their owners aren’t dependent on their cats for warm fuzzies in a crazy world!

Domestic Cats (Felis silvestris catus) Do Not Show Signs of Secure Attachment to Their Owners.

“The Ainsworth Strange Situation Test (SST) has been widely used to demonstrate that the bond between both children and dogs to their primary carer typically meets the requirements of a secure attachment (i.e. the carer being perceived as a focus of safety and security in otherwise threatening environments), Read More

People with wider faces have a higher sex drive.

By Seriously Science | October 3, 2017 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/stuartpilbrow

Photo: flickr/stuartpilbrow

Here’s another addition to the list of things that you can guess from a quick look at someone’s face, which includes whether a gay man is a “top” or “bottom” and whether a criminal will get the death penalty. Here, researchers found that people with a higher facial width-to-height ratio (i.e., a face that is wider than it is tall) tend to have a higher sex drive, and (for men) are more likely to be unfaithful. Like the aforementioned facial associations, this one relates to testosterone levels – higher testosterone levels equal wider faces. So the next time you go on a date, you might want to bring your ruler…trust us, it will be worth it. 

The Facial Width-to-Height Ratio Predicts Sex Drive, Sociosexuality, and Intended Infidelity

“Previous research has linked the facial width-to-height ratio (FWHR) to a host of psychological and behavioral characteristics, primarily in men. In two studies, we examined novel links between FWHR and sex drive. In Study 1, a sample of 145 undergraduate students revealed that FWHR positively predicted sex drive. Read More

Flashback Friday: Duct tape can do everything — including cure your warts.

By Seriously Science | September 29, 2017 7:44 am

Image: Flickr/Joe Loong

Image: Flickr/Joe Loong

Mmm… warts! Those fun, fleshy skin growths caused by papillomavirus. They are harmless, and yet… ugh. One of the most common methods of removal is to freeze them off using liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy). But apparently there’s a DIY method that, according to this study, works even better: covering them with duct tape. It takes up to a couple months of diligent tape-wearing to work, but hey, it might help you avoid yet another medical bill. And for those of you wanting to try this at home, be aware that you should stick to the old-fashioned silver duct tape (according to other research, clear duct tape doesn’t have the same effects). And before you ask — no, McGuyver wasn’t one of the authors!

The efficacy of duct tape vs cryotherapy in the treatment of verruca vulgaris (the common wart).

OBJECTIVE: To determine if application of duct tape is as effective as cryotherapy in the treatment of common warts.

DESIGN: A prospective, randomized controlled trial with 2 treatment arms for warts in children. Read More


Study identifies 5 common cat personality factors. (No, “cat-itude” isn’t one of them.)

By Seriously Science | September 25, 2017 6:00 am


If you’re a “cat person”, I’m willing to bet that you are already saying “Of course cats have personalities!” But which parts of your feline friend’s personality are just part of being a cat, and which vary from cat to cat? Well, according to this study, there are five traits that account for the majority of the variability between cat personalities: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Dominance, Impulsiveness and Agreeableness. Not only that, but this variation can sometimes be attributed to environmental or health differences: “Highly Impulsive cats for example, may be reacting to something stressful in their environment, whereas cats with low Agreeableness scores, showing irritability may indicate underlying pain or illness.” Of course, if you are a dog person, I’m willing to bet you are already assigning those personality factors to your cat-owning relatives.

The ‘Feline Five’: An exploration of personality in pet cats (Felis catus).

“The idea of animals possessing personalities was once dismissed by the scientific community, but has since gained traction with evidence for potential application to improve captive animal management and welfare. Although domestic cats are popular companion animals, research has tended to overlook the value of personality assessment for management and care of pet cats. Read More

Flashback Friday: Scientists are actually studying Ryan Gosling memes.

By Seriously Science | September 22, 2017 6:00 am

127469594MT038_The_Ides_Of_Hey girl. You’ve probably seen those Ryan Gosling memes floating around the interwebs–you know, the ones where he says all the things girls like to hear. Well, these scientists set out to see if memes can garner more than just a laugh, and investigated whether they could actually change people’s views on important subjects. To do so, they showed groups of men and women a variety of Ryan Gosling feminist memes, and then tested whether the memes had any effect on the participants’ feminist beliefs. Surprisingly, although the men didn’t rate themselves any more feminist after seeing the memes, they did display “significantly higher endorsement of subtypes of feminism (radical and social).” The results were presented at the 2014 Canadian Psychological Association annual conference (abstract below). We assume these scientists are already hard at work on their follow-up study focused on how magnets work.

The Effect of Ryan Gosling Feminist Memes on Feminist Identification and Endorsement of Feminist Beliefs

“This study examined the impact of Ryan Gosling feminist memes on feminist identification and endorsement of feminist beliefs. Participants were asked to complete a one-item measure of feminist identification and then complete an adapted version of the Feminist Perspectives Scale (FPS) which measured endorsement of feminist beliefs. Contrary to our hypothesis, the experimental meme group did not display a greater level of feminist self-identification than the control group. In partial support of our hypothesis, the meme group displayed significantly higher endorsement of subtypes of feminism (radical and social). Read More


Having your dog in the bed is bad for your sleep.

By Seriously Science | September 20, 2017 6:00 am
Photo: flickr/dixie wells

Photo: flickr/dixie wells

Dog owners, we have some “ruff” news for you: according to this study, it might not be the best idea to let Fido sleep in your bed. These researchers tracked the sleep of 40 humans and their dogs by having them both wear movement tracking devices to bed for a week. They found that the humans slept worse when the dog slept in the bed with them, as opposed to on the floor in the same room, likely due to the dog’s movement during sleep. Doggie cosleeper, anyone?

The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment

To objectively assess whether a dog in the bedroom or bed disturbs sleep.

Participants and Methods
From August 1, 2015, through December 31, 2015, we evaluated the sleep of humans and dogs occupying the same bedroom to determine whether this arrangement was conducive to sleep. The study included 40 healthy adults without sleep disorders and their dogs (no dogs less than 6 months old). Each participant wore an accelerometer and their dog a validated dog accelerometer for 7 nights.
Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: fun with animals

Flashback Friday: Horrifying study shows how far bed bugs can spread in apartment buildings.

By Seriously Science | September 15, 2017 6:00 am

If bed bugs are living in your home, they are probably hiding out and waiting to sense the carbon dioxide from your breath to home in on their next blood meal. But how did they get there in the first place? If you haven’t recently picked up a mattress off the street (always a good plan), it’s often assumed that they could have migrated from your neighbor’s place. But how frequent these wanderings are, or if they actually happen, hasn’t been demonstrated… until now! Here, scientists captured bed bugs from infested apartments in New Jersey, painted their backs, released them, and then watched over the next several months to see where the little monsters ended up. It turns out that, yes, bed bugs make the rounds of neighboring apartments, and they can live inside empty apartments for months without a blood meal. And perhaps the worst part? “The estimated number of bed bugs per apartment in the six apartments was 2,433–14,291.” Sleep tight!

Mark-Release-Recapture Reveals Extensive Movement of Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius L.) within and between Apartments

“Understanding movement and dispersal of the common bed bug (Cimex lectularius L.) under field conditions is important in the control of infestations and for managing the spread of bed bugs to new locations. We investigated bed bug movement within and between apartments using mark-release-recapture (m-r-r) technique combined with apartment-wide monitoring using pitfall-style interceptors. Bed bugs were collected, marked, and released in six apartments. Read More

German scientist tracks Trump’s tweets to estimate he sleeps 6.5 hours a night.

By Seriously Science | September 12, 2017 9:37 am
Image: Flickr/Per-Olof Forsberg

Image: Flickr/Per-Olof Forsberg

There’s a lot more in Trump’s Twitter feed than just a load of covfefe. In fact, the POTUS tweets often enough to be a source of information about his daily habits. This paper describes what Professor Till Roenneberg gleaned from a careful analysis of Trump’s Twitter activities over several years. Because Trump shares his Twitter accounts with others on his team, Professor Roenneberg first had to separate Tweets originating from different devices. Tracking the times of day when the most consistently-used device tweeted revealed an interesting trend: the owner of the account Tweets most in the morning and evening. From this data, Professor Roenneberg estimates that Trump sleeps only 6.5 hours a day. No wonder he’s so hard to get along with!

Twitter as a means to study temporal behavior.

“Biomedical research has exploited vital and other statistics (e.g., birth or death rates) for almost 200 years. The Internet has become a rich source of digital databases, which are being used for many lines of research (e.g., circadian and seasonal or metabolism). Internet-based studies generally investigate large populations while individual social media accounts are rarely used to analyse, for example, individual sleep–wake behaviour (e.g., youtu.be/wBNcP-LkpfA). I therefore applied time series analyses, commonly used in circadian and sleep research, to approximately 12,000 tweets sent from a single Twitter account (@realdonaldtrump; December, 2014 to March, 2017). The account was clearly used by different individuals/groups launching tweets from various devices. Among these, the Android phone was the most consistent over the years. Its tweet activity peaked twice a day (early morning and late night), and both peaks showed a strong seasonality by tracking dawn.”

From the full text:

“Assuming that the account’s owner predominantly used the Android it can be used to characterise the user’s sleep–wake behaviour, (e.g., ‘chronotype’; for definition). We routinely assess chronotype with questionnaires or activity recordings. According to our actimetry database, an individual’s chronotype (represented by the mid-sleep point) correlates with the time of his/her average minimal activity. Although tweet activity only poorly predicts total activity, these results suggest that the tweet minimum around 1:30 AM (arrow in average profile) lies close to the Android user’s mid-sleep point (i.e., chronotype). 3.7% of US participants of the MCTQ have the same chronotype, 3.1% are earlier, and the most frequent chronotype is 3:30 (12.6%). In 2014, the major peak occurred predominantly in the evening but has since moved to the morning. Although this change echoes our finding that ageing is associated with advancing one’s chronotype (especially in men), the examination period may be too short to infer an age-related advance.”

Related content:
A ball of dough can “learn.” What’s Donald Trump’s excuse?
Study concludes that conservative politicians are more physically attractive.
Hey guys, if you want the ladies to dig your B.O., eat more veggies!

Flashback Friday: When a dare to eat an insect goes horribly wrong.

By Seriously Science | September 8, 2017 6:00 am
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Siga

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Siga

Question: how do you know when your seemingly simple dare has gone a little too far? Answer: when you become the star of a medical case study. From inhaling too much helium  to shooting pressurized air up someone’s butt, we’ve seen our share of stunts gone wrong here at Seriously, Science? And this one, although lacking pressurized gas, is another doozy. Here doctors report a soldier who ate a beetle on a bet. Sound pretty harmless? Not when the beetle turns out to be Berberomeloe majalis, an insect that produces the chemical cantharidin–aka “Spanish fly.” Despite its well-known aphrodisiac effects, this chemical also has the unfortunate side effect of causing kidney damage. Fortunately, the soldier recovered. Sadly, however, the beetle did not.

Acute kidney injury by cantharidin poisoning following a silly bet on an ugly beetle

“Cantharidin is a poisonous substance secreted by blister beetles, including the ‘Spanish fly’. Historically, cantharidin was used as an aphrodisiac, vesicant and abortifacient. Symptoms of poisoning include gastrointestinal and genitourinary mucosal irritation along with renal dysfunction. We present the case of a reckless 23-year-old soldier who accepted the challenge of eating a beetle (Berberomeloe majalis). Read More


Seriously, Science?

Seriously, Science?, formerly known as NCBI ROFL, is the brainchild of two prone-to-distraction biologists. We highlight the funniest, oddest, and just plain craziest research from the PubMed research database and beyond. Because nobody said serious science couldn't be silly!
Follow us on Twitter: @srslyscience.
Send us paper suggestions: srslyscience[at]gmail.com.

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