April Fools: a cross-sectional analysis

Thanks for knowing, Jorge.

I think mean practical jokes are not a good way to spend April Fool’s Day.  I have nothing against the French ‘Poision d’Avril’ tradition, but it doesn’t really call out to me as being clever or creative.  Several years ago at UBC (Hi Julian!) we held a ‘crazy/strange/silly research’ contest where we would try to find the weirdest published research article.  We found some awesome ones!  Here is an oldie but goodie:

FALLS FROM COCONUT TREES. P Grech – East African medical journal, 1964

Although April Fool’s Day is not such a big deal in Sweden, I decided to import the ‘strange research contest’ to see what this group would find.  We had a co-contest, which was to write a strange research abstract and see whether people would be able to identify it.  Here are the candidates:

  1. Instrumental measurement of beer taste attributes using an electronic tongue. Rudnitskaya A, Polshin E, Kirsanov D, Lammertyn J, Nicolai B, Saison D, Delvaux FR, Delvaux F, Legin A. (2009) Anal Chim Acta. Jul 30;646(1-2):111-118
  2. Drugs alter web-building of spiders: a review and evaluation. PN Witt (1971) Behav Sci. 16(1):98-113.
  3. Psychosocial impacts of public flatulence. Deabottum and Van der Fahrt (2006) American Journal of Social Psychology 32(1): 36-42
  4. Experimental Evidence for Suspense as Determinant of Video Game Enjoyment  Christoph Klimmt, Albert Rizzo, Peter Vorderer, Jan Koch, Till Fischer, (2009) CYBERPSYCHOLOGY & BEHAVIOR  Volume 12, Number 1
  5. Performance effects of watching others exercise during lunch among female workers at a customer contact centre.
  6. Oyster Coverage: Chiastic News As a Reflection of Local Expertise and Economic Concerns. Toby A. Ten Eyck and Forrest A. Deseran. (2004) Sociological Research Online, Volume 9, Issue 4
  7. Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity Alan D. Sokal (1996) Social Text #46/47:217-25
  8. Nutritional impacts on mucous viscosity (2002) S. Snyvel Clinical allergy and acute care medicine  37(8):425-432
  9. The Effect of Country Music on Suicide. (1992) Social Forces 71: 211-219

3, 5, and 7 are fake ones, 3 and 5 written by yours truly.  7 was actually published even though it is fake.   4 was voted the strangest.  most people thought 9 was fake, but it is so real.  Everyone who submitted got a chocolate bunny.  Happy April Fool’s Day!


  1. It was super challenging to pick out which ones weren’t real… I guessed right on a few:p. I felt compelled to do a quick PubMed search and came up with the following:

    In vivo measurement of flatulence and nutrient digestibility in dogs fed poultry by-product meal, conventional soybean meal, and low-oligosaccharide low-phytate soybean meal.

    Yamka RM, Harmon DL, Schoenherr WD, Khoo C, Gross KL, Davidson SJ, Joshi DK.

    Am J Vet Res. 2006 Jan;67(1):88-94.

    Coconut palm-related injuries in the Pacific Islands.

    Mulford JS, Oberli H, Tovosia S.

    ANZ J Surg. 2001 Jan;71(1):32-4.

    These aren’t the funniest but I will do more searching …

    :p Andrea

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