Saturday, May 25, 2024

Here’s a snake shocker for you

| May 29, 2020 1:00 AM

Reporter’s note: Quotation marks show direct quotes from the media, such as a newspaper. All other commentary is from Your On The Street Reporter.

Report 6: People Prefer Flowers to Snakes

University of Virginia

“The Agenda,” The Atlantic, July/August 2008

An in-depth research project at the University of Virginia, conducted by two “researchers” — whose study leads your reporter to suspect these folks have not ventured out of academia since puberty — concluded humans do not like snakes.

This startling discovery came after the researchers showed photographs of snakes to children and their parents and asked for their reactions. Before looking at the pictures, the subjects of the test (not the snakes, the people) had happy faces. After seeing the shots of the snakes? Not so much.

Furthermore, the project revealed the humans in the study (120 pre-school children and their parents) were more afraid of snakes than flowers. (!!) Sorry for the exclamation points. I just could not avoid them for this report.

The scientists showed the children and adults color photographs of two images: A snake and a flower, and asked them which photo was more “threat-relevant.”

Only a closeted academician could come up with the phrase “threat-relevant.” It begs derision. And it is rumored all the children and most of the adults responded with, “Uh?”

After clarifying that threat-relevant meant scary, the poll revealed these folks believed a snake was scarier than a flower.

Recovering from the heady success that comes from such a revolutionary discovery, the researchers substituted the flower with frogs, caterpillars, and other images. Sure enough, the subjects stuck with the snake as being the snake among the pictures. After all, a snake is named a snake for a good reason.

Rumor has it the plastic surgery-altered faces of movie stars were shown, which dramatically altered the respondents’ rankings of scary things. But with the issue of political correctness prominent among important topics in America, this part of the study was not made public.

The researchers made the point that the children had never seen a snake.

The researchers did not consider if the children had most likely seen a snake on TV, which given the diversity of television programs, was almost inevitable. TV snakes are invariably depicted as slimy craw-alongs, as they display their scary forked tongues. (Reporter: the same holds true with non-TV snakes … coming from someone who, as a kid, saw more than his share of them slithering on the ground toward him,)

From this seminal research, the researchers state that humans “… have an evolved tendency to rapidly detect” a snake.

But we have not evolved sufficiently to rapidly detect snake oil.

As for your reporter, I prefer the old days when the universities of America restricted their professors’ activities to teaching.