A Canadian researcher won an Ig Nobel Prize for her eyebrow-raising study

A Canadian researcher won an Ig Nobel Prize for her eyebrow-raising study
Miranda Giacomin, top right, and her co-researcher, Nicholas Rule, bottom right, receive their Ig Nobel Prize from Nobel laureate Eric Maskin, bottom left, on Thursday, Sept. 17. The virtual ceremony was hosted by Marc Abrahams, top left. (Improbable Research / YouTube)


TORONTO -- A Canadian researcher and her American colleague have been awarded the satirical Ig Nobel Prize in psychology for devising a method to identify narcissists by their eyebrows.

Last week, Miranda Giacomin and Nicholas Rule were presented the lighthearted award during a webcast event titled the .

The comedic awards show, which has been held every year since 1991, honours academic discoveries that first make people laugh, then think, according to the Annals of Improbable Research magazine, which organizes the awards.

The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative and spur peoples interest in science, medicine, and technology, a description of the event on the Improbable Research website reads.

The awards are usually handed out in person by genuine (and genuinely bemused) Nobel Laureates at Harvard University, but they were moved online this year as a result of the pandemic.

Giacomin, an assistant professor in psychology at MacEwan University in Edmonton, shared the prize with Rule, who was her professor at the University of Toronto, where she conducted the winning research as a postdoctoral student.

Their research examined if there is a particular facial feature on someones face that can help people identify them as a narcissist and thus, avoid the negative interpersonal consequences often associated with narcissists.

Participants were asked to rate photos of different faces in which certain facial features were obstructed to see if they could identify narcissistic individuals.

We did a long series of experiments, basically showing participants pieces of the face, to try and figure out where the cue for narcissism lies and that led us to our eyebrows, Giacomin explained to during a telephone interview from Edmonton on Thursday.

The researchers discovered that pronounced eyebrows were more often associated with narcissistic personalities.

We found that narcissism tended to predict having more distinctive eyebrows, which consisted of them being darker, bolder, standing out more on peoples faces, she said.
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