Reading studies on the Internet makes you more beautiful!
Eating a sausage a day can be deadly. (MBC Medicine Review)
"Smart people go to bed late", "At work, motivation is at 14:55 low" ...
On our screens, no one can escape! But where do all this wacky information come from?
These are the Zoe who will be happy: "Having a short name promotes professional success," according to a job offer site American. And especially the single Zoe, because "the marriage harms health", according to a study of the University of Austin (Texas) - those who despair of finding the soul mate will console themselves: their check-up will be better than those of lovers!
Absurd? Go, who has never clicked on these links to catchy titles, these "scientific" studies that regularly feed news feeds on the Web, abound on Facebook and Twitter, and generate avalanches of comments oscillating between the first and the last. Fifteenth degree?
Researchers who know the ropes
"These little, funny, offbeat, even absurd, feeds conversations at the coffee machine and give a little lightness to our daily, often overbooked or anxiety.A little, finally, like the traditional horoscope," says Agnès Millet, journalist, co-author, with Morgane Tual, of a successful Tumblr -130000 subscribers - on these "studies with the con", as they call them.
Marriage is bad for your health. Marriage hurts health. (University of Texas-USA)
They have made a book, just as prosaic title: Eating a sausage a day may be fatal . "Attention, this book, although humorous, is based on real scientific studies which we always quote the reference," said Agnès Millet, anxious to spare its purveyors of crazy information.
Universities of Prague, Sweden, Texas, Bristol, Hiroshima ... Most of these funny data come from distant lands. French researchers are therefore less interested in these subjects, often perceived as anecdotal? "Let's say that in France we tend to take ourselves a little more seriously.It is better to do a thesis on the lake of Paladru in the Middle Ages than to carry out studies on these 'small' subjects of everyday life", replies Patrice Duchemin, sociologist of consumption.
It remains to know what is meant by the word "studies". For Florian Gouthière, journalist and author of Health Science, should we swallow everything? (2), this name is a bit of catch-all means "impeccable clinical trials that surveys based on more or less important samples, an experiment on some mice, or methodologically poor work".
The less scrupulous researchers seeking easy cover have their strings, such as artificially bringing together two subjects that have nothing to do but follow the same evolutionary curve. Two years ago, the claim "Tinder encourages STDs" has spread at high speed on the Internet. "It was enough to make the link between the increase in the number of connections to dating sites and the rise in the number of sexually transmitted diseases in a given period such as summer to obtain this kind of risky statement," decrypts Catherine Lejealle, sociologist, professor at ISC Paris and author of J'arrête d'hyperconnecté! (3).
Above all, many of these Kleenex surveys come under psychology. "But the human being is not easily measurable or quantifiable," insists Michael Stora, psychologist, founder of the Observatory of the digital worlds in human sciences (OMNSH). "Ask a young person in a family relations investigation: if he had a dispute with his father the day before, you would not get the same answer as he would have given you a few days before," continues the specialist. The height of the absurd: a study published in the very serious journal Science concludes ... do not believe in scientific studies!
"True or false, it does not matter," exclaims Catherine Lejealle, "Their role is not to inform, but to provoke the famous little adrenaline shots that the Y and Z generations are particularly fond of." Saturated with information, young people tend to hunt down the most astonishing, astonishing, hilarious subject. The important thing is to be the first to find and relay it on social networks. The mode of format, very short, and the lightness of the contents correspond perfectly to the tendency of the moment, in the line of the site Topito, specialist of the lists and the classemen ts of all kinds. As long as it's funny and quirky.
Hot chocolate tastes better in an orange cup. (Oxford University-England) Hot chocolate tastes better in an orange cup. (University of Oxford-England) Getty Images / iStockphoto
There is also a top 12 studies to the con. At the top of the podium: "Hot chocolate tastes better in an orange cup". "The danger of this trend is that it acts almost like a drug, the user always wants to go further in the search for sensational," says Catherine Lejealle.
"Push at the click"
Hence the importance of the title, showcase "pushes to click" this type of info more or less phony. The more he is loud and provocative, the better. Quit, again, to take a few shortcuts. "Peeing in the shower can help save the planet," proclaims one of them. Statement from a campaign launched by a British university to encourage students to save water. "To give way to an older person could do more harm than good," warns another. Logic, since staying up is much better for your health. A professor from Oxford University tells you!
Last but not least: "To have a foot outside the quilt helps to sleep better". A psychology teacher in Alabama explains very seriously that during the night the body warms up little by little, hence the reflex of getting out of the toes to cool off.