Novel research ideas

Eeny, meeny, miny, moeEvery time I walk into a public restroom I wonder whether anyone has ever done research on stall selection. I mean if there are 5 stalls there, and they’re all empty, where do you go? And why? What does that say about your personality?

A quick google shows that lot of people have thought about this, but not in a deeply scientific way it seems. It’s mostly to do about what feels least icky, and that doesn’t particularly interest me. It is well known that bathrooms are one of the cleanest places compared to our offices and kitchen tables, so that’s mostly emotional. And that’s just not how I roll.

It wouldn’t be too hard to set up a proper experiment. If you’d just use a small motion detector in each stall and have all the detectors simultaneously feed back to a computer. You could correlate stall selection with time of day, other stalls occupied and average time spent. You could even see whether there is a difference between stall selection in men and women.

A lovely and elegant little experiment that would render a lot of interesting data. I wonder whether you’d even have to consult an ethics committee to be allowed to do it since the detection system id pretty anonymous.

Unfortunately this would have absolutely nothing to do with my current research, and although it would be deeply interesting I doubt whether knowledge like that has a practical application. (Although it could help decide which stalls to stock with extra toilet paper).

If only I could find a hapless Psych mayor to do it for me..

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