If you ever need a pesky thing like evidence to back up your biased hunches or personal experiences in casual conversation, simply start sentences with phrases like “Researchers found” and “Studies show.” You’ll probably be covered, since it seems there’s a new study every day that confirms common knowledge, from “people prefer symmetrical facial features” to “women like to gossip.” Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than having science on your side—not only do you get that cozy feeling that there are other people just like you out there, but you are automatically deemed correct. Never mind that a contradictory finding is probably already in the works at some university no one’s ever heard of. Studies show that readers on the Internet like lists. (See what we did there?) So here’s a list of recent studies that will not only make you feel as smart as the PhD who led the research but also a little less alone in the world.
- Prepare to have your mind blown: people are born either good or bad at math. A person’s knack for math is linked to their “number sense,” an inherent trait that is stronger in some people than in others. Cite this study the next time you’re at a group dinner and it comes time to figure out how to split the check. “Hey, genetically I’m just not capable of doing that math.”
- You know that girl in high school who seemed like she stepped straight off the set of Mean Girls? Well, chances are she had symmetrical facial features. Researchers recently concluded what plenty of anecdotal evidence has supported since the beginning of time: beautiful people, aka the “symmetrically blessed,” are more likely to be selfish and less cooperative.
- If you’ve ever pretended to text to avoid that dude from the other night or to not look like a total loner at party, good news: research confirms there are other losers out there who don’t have any real people to text either! Thirteen percent of cell phone users pretend to text to avoid interacting with the people around them. What did people do during elevator rides before the invention of smartphones?
- Teenage boys masturbate more than teenage girls. I know, we were shocked too … and then grateful that our tax dollars went to this worthy scientific undertaking.
- We don’t need researchers to tell us that women prefer men who aren’t interested in them; all we need to do is look back over our personal dating histories. But now the masochistic part of our brains that are only attracted to men who don’t give us the time of day has been confirmed by science. No point in trying to change it: science says we just can’t stop avoiding the guy who wants to wine and dine us in favor of the one who only texts us after midnight.
- Women are more concerned with appearing friendly over e-communication than men, as evidenced by their use of exclamation points in work emails. Eureka! My excessive exclamation point usage is finally explained!!!!!! Women use this friendly punctuation mark 45 percent more often than men. Thanks for reading that!
- You’re to blame for your partner’s erectile dysfunction. Sorry, but sometimes science backs up our insecurities, too. Feel free to ignore the study that came to this conclusion, or dig a little deeper into its flawed scientific method. Or you know, just wait for the next study done on men who can’t get it up. One has probably been published as I type this—all in the name of a cure!