Have you ever wondered why men pull stunts like this?
It's simple: they're idiots. And a study by researchers at Newcastle University bears this out.
The awards, which are inspired by Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, recognize individuals who have died due to their own stupidity, improving the human gene pool by removing themselves from it.
The researchers wanted to know more about gender differences in "idiotic risk," which they defined as "senseless risks, where the apparent payoff is negligible or non-existent, and the outcome is often extremely negative and often final."
Study author Dennis Lendrem told Postmedia News that he was inspired to take up the research after his teenaged son Ben noted that most Darwin Award winners were men.
"I asked him why he thought that was. And he replied it was because men are idiots, which I thought was very wise for a 15-year-old," Lendrem told reporter Sharon Kirkey.
Examples of Darwin Award winners include three men who drank in a bar and then stomped on a Cambodian land mine. The mine later exploded, killing all of them.
Honourable mentions recognize people whose stupidity doesn't kill them off. An example of this was when a man tried to stimulate himself sexually using a belt sander, and then slipped and lost a testicle. He tried to repair his scrotum with a staple gun.
The study looked at 413 total nominations, of which 332 were confirmed to be real. Researchers discovered that 14 cases involved men and women together, likely "adventurous couples in compromising positions."
Of the remaining 318 people, 282 (88.7 per cent) were men, and only 36 (11.3 per cent) were women.
The results were consistent with "male idiot theory" (MIT), the simple idea that "men are idiots and idiots do stupid things," according to the study.
But the researchers noted that there may be selection bias when choosing Darwin Award winners.
They said, for example, that "women may be more likely to nominate men," while there could also be bias on the part of the committee which chooses the winners.
Reporting bias is also possible: "Idiotic male candidates may be more newsworthy than idiotic female Darwin Award candidates," the study reads.
Consuming alcohol may be a factor leading men to more idiotic behaviour, because it can make them feel "bulletproof" — i.e. the three men stomping on the land mine.
By way of explaining idiotic risk, the study cites a "survival of the species" theory by Darwin Awards creator Wendy Northcutt, which posits that people are "selflessly removing themselves from the gene pool."
And while the authors find flaws in this argument, they feel that there could be evolutionary reasons behind such risky behaviour.
"Presumably, idiotic behaviour confers some, as yet unidentified, selective advantage on those who do not become its casualties," the study said.
BuzzFeed noted that the British Medical Journal's Christmas edition is known to come out with, shall we say, unconventional studies.
Previous research has looked at how much alcohol James Bond really consumed, and the relative ages of magazines in doctors' offices.
For now, the next time you see men behave like this ...
Or this ...
Just know that it may be in their nature to do dumb things.
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