Dutch psychologists who discovered that leaning to the left makes the Eiffel Tower seem smaller have been honoured at this year’s Ig Nobel Awards. The annual prizes are awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research for “research that makes people laugh and then think”. They are inspired by the Nobel prizes, which will be announced early next month.
Anita Eerland and Rolf Zwaan of the Open University in the Netherlands were recognised for their work exploring how posture influences estimations of size: with leaning to the left correlating with lower estimates, and leaning to the right correlating with higher estimates. They tested this by placing 33 undergraduates on a Wii Balance Board, which tilted slightly to the left or the right while they were asked to guess the size of objects, including the height of the Eiffel Tower.