April PsychNotes

Harvesting the spaghetti crop, 1957The first mass media April Fool joke was reportedly the BBC’s 1957 Panorama segment on spaghetti harvesting, for which a cameraman hung “pounds of spaghetti over trees in a little Swiss village” and persuaded locals to harvest the crop. The BBC was inundated with calls. “[T]he majority either wanted to know where they could see a spaghetti harvest, or obtain information to start a spaghetti farm” (Humphrys 1999).

It was a simpler time. Here are some research goodies from last month. …

Men, Never Marry a Misstery

Never Marry a MysteryHey, you wanna buy a car? Here’s my offer: If you give me $50,000 I’ll deliver a vehicle to you next year. Until then, you don’t get to drive it or see it. Maybe it’s a new Lamborghini, or maybe it’s a ’77 Pinto with a tendency to explode.

Any takers? I didn’t think so. No one with a lick of common sense would take that deal, yet I routinely meet men, and more than a few women, who use that method to make a much more important decision: they marry people they haven’t truly gotten to know. Occasionally they get lucky, but more often they deeply regret it. …

March PsychNotes

What is green and pecks on trees? Woody the Woodpickle. (That joke never fails with kids.) Here are some goodies from last month, including studies on woodpecker brain damage, preventing extramarital affairs, and why your brain might not trust certain people. …

February PsychNotes

phrenologistWanna hear a joke? A neuron and a glial cell went to summer camp. When they arrived at the barracks, the neuron demanded the top bunk. “Why should I get stuck on the bottom,” asked the glial cell. The neuron answered, “because I want to have a high resting potential!” (I didn’t say it was a good joke.) Here’s some recent news, starting with the brain’s tiny unsung heroes. …