Tuesday, May 09, 2006

NYT: Handling Weapons Linked to Craving Hot Sauce

In another amazing display of non-sequitur thinking, we present the following:

Psychologists at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., enrolled 30 male students in what they described as a taste study. The researchers took saliva samples from the students and measured testosterone levels.

They then seated the young men, one at a time, at a table in a bare room; on the table were pieces of paper and either the board game Mouse Trap or a large handgun.

Their instructions: take apart the game or the gun and write directions for assembly and disassembly.

Fifteen minutes later, the psychologists measured saliva testosterone again and found that the levels had spiked in men who had handled the gun but had stayed steady in those working with the board game.

The "taste sensitivity" phase of the experiment was in fact intended to measure aggressive impulses. After the writing assignment, the young men were asked to rate the taste of a drink, a cup of water with a drop of hot sauce in it. They were then told to prepare a drink for the next person in the experiment, adding as much hot sauce as they liked.

"Those who had handled the gun put in about three times as much as the others — 13 grams on average, which is a lot," said Tim Kasser, one of the authors. He worked with Francis McAndrew, also of Knox, and Jennifer Klinesmith, a former student who had the idea for the study, due to appear in Psychological Science.

What have we learned? That a .45 before dinner means, what? habaneras on the tacos?

What goes with an M-60?

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