Last night, the Belgian psychiatrist Damiaan Denys was awarded the Ig Nobel Prizes, the alternative Nobel Prizes for scientific research that “first makes you laugh, then makes you think”. He researched misophonia, a condition in which people have an extreme aversion to smacking, slurping or sneezing sounds. Other notable investigations and even President Donald Trump have also won awards.
In New York, the Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded in the night from Thursday to Friday: the alternative Nobel Prizes for research that “first make you laugh but later make you think”. Research groups are put in the spotlight for their scientific work in ten categories. A Belgian was awarded in the medicine category. It concerns the psychiatrist, philosopher and theater maker Damiaan Denys. He currently works as a professor at the University of Amsterdam and helped with a Dutch study into misophonia: a disease in which people become disgusted or aggressive when they hear smacking, slurping or sneezing sounds from others.
According to Denys and his Dutch colleagues, this condition can even lead to murderous tendencies in extreme cases – not exactly a laugh. Especially when you live with others, like to go to the movies or sit next to colleagues at work who sometimes eat something at their desk, misophonia is a big problem. It can even lead to social isolation. “The IgNobel Prize is of course a bit of a joke, there is some laughter with science”, says Denys herself in a video of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). “But we are happy to accept the prize because we think it is important to draw attention to misophonia.”
Ten years ago Denys was first approached by someone with the condition. “The woman said she got very angry when she heard someone sneeze, and she didn’t understand why,” he explains. “I wasn’t quite sure what was going on either. Was it a compulsive disorder or an impulsive disorder, not a single box was correct and I did not understand what to do with it. ” Only in a second case, a woman who had a tendency to strangle her husband when he breathed loudly while sleeping, did a light come on. “This seemed like something that has not yet been described in psychology and we eventually arrived at the diagnosis of misophonia, an existing name that we applied to new criteria.” Denys also emphasizes that it is important to know that there is a difference between people who really suffer from the disorder and people who are slightly disturbed by someone who munches on a bag of chips during the movie. ”
Narcissists, crocodiles and hitmen
Other notable research that received awards included a Canadian study in which narcissists can be identified by their eyebrows. Research in which an alligator was given helium gas to see how it then communicates and a study that shows that scientists who study insects can develop a great fear of spiders were also awarded.
No fewer than five hitmen were awarded in the ‘management’ category. A Chinese had managed to outsource his assignment – the murder of a man – to a slightly cheaper colleague. He did the same in turn, and it went on three more times. Ultimately, the dirt cheap contract murder was never carried out.
The organizers also awarded the “medical education” prize with a wink, including an IgNobel to the President of the United States Donald Trump and his fellow world leaders in Brazil, Great Britain, India, Mexico, Belarus. , Turkey, Russia and Turkmenistan “for using the corona pandemic to show the world that politicians can have more impact on life and death than scientists and doctors”. In all of these countries, their leaders have minimized the coronavirus.
It was already the thirtieth edition of the Ig Nobel Prize, due to the corona virus, the award ceremony took place online this year. The real Nobel Prizes ceremony will take place in December.