Here's one we really didn't see coming: Ethicists steal more than people outside the field. At least that was the surprising conclusion drawn by a philosophy professor in California whose research showed that contemporary ethics texts mainly borrowed from libraries by academics in the field were about 50 percent more likely to go missing than other books [source: Schwitzgebel].
Does that mean that studying about moral behavior makes one less moral? No, says study author Eric Schwitzgebel, but it might undermine morality when it supports rationalization. "Rationalization may be especially likely when conventional norms and ordinary behavior are both morally good and contrary to self-interest -- as in the case of the return of library books."
"We are not conducting this inquiry in order to know what virtue is, but in order to become good," Aristotle is believed to have said about the study of philosophy and ethics. Better keep hitting the books. Just remember to return them.
Author's Note: 10 Studies Connecting Completely Bizarre Things
The great thing about writing for HowStuffWorks is the seemingly endless array of interesting and obscure topics that I'm asked to delve into in any given assignment. Sure, as a single 30-something man, explaining why families should build traditions wasn't really at the top of my list of things to do. But, I've also learned about false scarcities, insanity, the true history of Thanksgiving, the NSA and miniature drone technology. This time around, it was binge drinking, theft and emotional manipulation. Also: rectal massage. Do not forget the rectal massage.
- BBC. "Curvy women may be a clever bet." Nov. 12, 2007. (Dec. 15, 2013) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7090300.stm
- Blain, Loz. "Study shows finger length can predict SAT scores." Gizmag. May 29, 2007. (Dec. 15, 2013) http://www.gizmag.com/go/7317
- Childs, Dan. "Are Curvy Women More Intelligent?" ABC News. Nov. 13, 2007. (Dec. 15, 2013). http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=3859175
- Curtis, Polly. "Finger points to good research skills." The Guardian. Oct. 20, 2004. (Dec. 15, 2013) http://www.theguardian.com/education/2004/oct/20/science.highereducation
- Hellmich, Nanci. "Flu vaccine cuts risk of heart attack for some patients." USA Today. Oct. 22, 2013 (Dec. 15, 2013) http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/22/flu-vaccine-heart-attack/3150819/
- Inskeep, Steve. "Study: Commuting Adversely Affects Political Engagement." NPR. Nov. 16, 2013 (Dec. 15, 2013) http://www.npr.org/2013/11/19/246085202/study-commuting-adversely-affects-political-engagement
- Jabr, Ferris. "Ambidextrous people easier to influence emotionally" New Scientist. Feb. 21, 2011 (Dec. 15, 2013) http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20156-ambidextrous-people-easier-to-influence-emotionally.html#.Uq5JJ-I7DoY
- Kanazawa, Satoshi. "Why Intelligent People Drink More Alcohol." Psychology Today. Oct. 10, 2010. (Dec. 17, 2013). http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/201010/why-intelligent-people-drink-more-alcohol
- Kanazawa, Satoshi. "More Intelligent People Are More Likely to Binge Drink and Get Drunk." Psychology Today. Feb 13, 2011 (Dec. 17, 2013). http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/201102/more-intelligent-people-are-more-likely-binge-drink-and-ge
- Mueller, Ann Tracy. "Infographic: What does your IQ have to do with binge drinking?" Ragan's Health Care Communication News. Aug. 27, 2013 (Dec. 15, 2013) http://www.healthcarecommunication.com/PublicRelations/Articles/Infographic_What_does_your_IQ_have_to_do_with_bing_11450.aspx
- Odeh, Majed, Bassan H, Oliven A.. "Termination of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage" Journal of Internal Medicine. Feb. 1990 (Dec. 15, 2013) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2299306
- Schwitzgebel, Eric. "Do Ethicists Steal More Books?" Philosophical Psychology. Dec. 11, 2009 (Dec. 15, 2013) http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~eschwitz/SchwitzAbs/EthicsBooks.htm
- Scicurious. "The new cure for the hiccups? Rectal stimulation." Scientopia. Jan. 28, 2011. http://scientopia.org/blogs/scicurious/2011/01/28/friday-weird-science-the-new-cure-for-the-hiccups-rectal-stimulation/
- The Best Masters Degrees Reviews. "Drunken Geniuses." (Dec. 15, 2013) http://www.bestmastersdegrees.com/drunken-geniuses
- Torafson, Thor, Flynn, Francis J., Kupor, Daniella. "Here's a Tip: Prosocial Gratuities Are Linked to Political Corruption." Harvard University. (Dec. 15, 2013) http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:9491448
- Tuk, Mirjam, Trampe, Debra and Warlop, Luk. "Inhibitory spillover: Increased urination urgency facilitates impulse control in unrelated domains." Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. (Dec. 15, 2013)
HowStuffWorks looks at a new study trying to determine why we can hear other people's footsteps but not the ones we make.