Peter Jonason awarded Ig Nobel prize for study into Night Owls

Peter Jonason  

University of Western Sydney researcher Peter Jonason has been awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for Psychology for research showing people who stay up late at night are more likely to display anti-social personality traits such as narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathic tendencies.

The Ig Nobel Prizes celebrate unusual and imaginative research, and were presented by five Nobel Laureates overnight at a ceremony at Harvard University.

The research by Dr Peter Jonason, from the School of Social Sciences and Psychology, assessed the sleeping habits and behaviour of over 250 people, finding those who were awake late into the night displayed greater anti-social tendencies.

Dr Jonason says there may be an evolutionary basis for the link between anti-social behaviour and a preference for burning the midnight oil.

"The features of the night - a low-light environment when others are sleeping - may facilitate casual sex, mate-poaching, and risk-taking," he says.

"Indeed most crimes and most sexual activity peak at night, suggesting just such a link."

The Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Psychology Professor Kevin Dunn has paid tribute to Dr Jonason.

"Winning the Ig Nobel Award is a fantastic achievement, and provides academics with the opportunity to talk about importance of research to a wide audience who may not always be engaged in science," says Professor Dunn.

"The motto of the prize is to 'honour the achievements that first make people laugh, and then think', and past winners have proved interesting research can lead to significant breakthroughs."

"On behalf of the University I congratulate Dr Jonason on his research and this award."


16 September 2014

Mark Smith, Senior Media Officer

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