Monday, May 03, 2010

Episode 3, 323, 526....

....of the "And this research got somebody their Ph.D.; sigh." series; in Spain, crack researchers have found that men's heart rates go up when they're introduced to a beautiful woman.

I don't know what's most depressing; that someone paid for this "proof of the obvious" to be done, that an actual academic agreed to perform it, or that people are reporting on it as if it's not completely obvious.


pentamom said...

Probably the third is the most scandalous. As long as original research is a requirement for a dissertation, there's going to have to be a lot of wacky stuff approved. There's very little worth knowing that's amenable to this kind of study that hasn't been done, IMO, or else what's left would be too complicated and costly for the "average" PhD candidate to undertake. You start telling PhD candidates that their proposals are "stupid," and you're going to have to explain to them how they're supposed to do original research in that case.

The solution is obviously to restructure things to remove the incentive for waste-of-time studies like this, but in the current system, you can hardly blame the students or the proposal committees, neither of which have much ability to do anything about it, for proposing or approving silly stuff.

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