Studies have shown that people chew gum and read studies
“Four out of five dentists surveyed recommend sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum.” Recognize that sentence? Back in the 1970s, that commercial for Trident gum ran frequently.
Did they only survey five dentists? What did the fifth guy say? Go for the high sugar bubble gum? What do those four dentists recommend for their patients who don’t chew gum?
Surveys and studies amuse me. I cite samples often in my programs and speeches because they stimulate curiosity and conversation. One study says that we look at our refrigerator 37 times a day. I use that stat to teach people to have their fridge face be uncluttered and only adorned with something that uplifts them. A photo, a quote, a silly or pretty something.
Who counts how many times we look at the fridge door and why did that be a study? Was it on obesity? I don’t think so. I don’t recall it saying we open the door, just that we pass by it 37 times. There are studies that show the level of clutter on the refrigerator is an indicator of the level of clutter elsewhere, and clutter is a stressor.
It would be fun to a participant in a study. Someone can pay me to count how many times I pass my fridge. I think it would be different for those who work at home and those who work elsewhere.
Another stat I share often is that it only takes 26 minutes a day of walking to boost our happiness. A brisk stride for that amount of time gets the feel good endorphins flowing and 26 minutes is optimal for weight loss as well. Somehow only putting in 26 minutes seems easier than taking a half hour to exercise. Fitting that into my day is doable, and walking lowers your risk for many health conditions.
Some studies are beneficial. Some are just wacky. Our government has funded some pretty weird stuff, and remember we are a country that pays its farmers billions each year to not farm their land. Did you know dog fleas can jump higher than cat fleas? Did you know that if you are sick, you should stay home from work? Duh. Maybe the study on woodpeckers and brain injuries has merit, but comparing our brains to theirs…….hmmm.
Studies have proven that air pollution is bad for you. Cigarettes are bad for you. A longer ride in an ambulance from home to hospital increases your chances of dying.
Much of what we consider common sense is not accepted as true unless “proven” by a study, or so the rationale goes of why these studies are funded.
Studies can show anything. I can survey 5 dentists and ask them if I should chew sugarless gum. I can survey 5 dentists and ask them what flavor. I can do a study of dentists being surveyed.
These kind of studies have spawned their own line of jokes. Studies have shown that people who have more birthdays live the longest. (Studies have shown that four in ten people laugh at bad jokes, while only one in ten groans.)
Did you laugh? Did you groan? Would you like to take part in a study?
Studies have shown that four of five dentists would.
(Kelly Epperson Simmons is an author/speaker/coach who helps people birth their books. Write firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 888-637-3563.)