By Stephanie Pappas and LiveScience | December 31, 2011
In science, it's not enough to think something is so. Researchers must show that what we believe to be true is in fact true, proven through statistically significant and reproducible results. Questioning assumptions is, after all, what science is about.
Nonetheless, some studies really take the cake in the "duh" department, discovering things that were already obvious. Here are findings from this year that should come as little surprise.
1. Unsafe sex is more likely after drinking
Drinking too much alcohol can impair decision-making. And a study out this year drove this point home: Canadian researchers, reporting results that will be published in January in the journal Addiction, said they ran 12 studies looking at the link between blood alcohol and the likelihood of agreeing to use a condom during sexual intercourse. The more alcohol in a person's system (yes, the drunker they were), the more likely they were to throw caution to the wind and ditch safe sex. Specifically, for every 0.1-milligram-per-milliliter increase in study participants' blood alcohol levels, there was a 5 percent increased likelihood of having unprotected sex.
2. Men appear confident by suppressing fear, pain and empathy
When mixed martial arts fighters need to show off masculine strength and confidence, they suppress fear, empathy, pain and shame.
1. 8. People aren't doing anything in particular on the Internet
Anyone who has ever gone down an Internet black hole, only to emerge hours (and dozens of Wikipedia articles) later, will be less than shocked at the revelation that online is the place to go for mindless entertainment. According to a Pew Research report released in December, 53 percent of people ages 18 to 29 get online at least once on any given day just to pass the time. Using the Internet to goof off isn't limited just to the young, either: Fifty-eight percent of all adults said they sometimes get on the Internet for no reason other than casual entertainment.