Scientific Results Concerning Happy Hour
The Effect of Happy Hour Attendance on Cognitive Psychologists H. Hour The University of Michigan Abstract: In this paper, we provide evidence to show that, contrary to popular belief, Happy Hour attendance is a good activity for an cognitive psychologist to take part in. We show conclusively that happy hour attendance benefits the individual, the community, and science in general. We conclude by encouraging those who do not regularly attend Happy Hour to include it in their weekly regimen. Introduction For decades, bitter controversy has raged over whether happy hour attendance is good. Unfortunately, much of the discussion has been philosophical, and not based in rigorous empirical work. We hope to enlighten this argument with data that conclusively prove that happy hour attendence has many benefits. We hypothesize that happy hour attendance makes one more employable, and better able to use one's brain. Additionally, we suggest that happy hour attendance builds community, strengthening the cohesion within the area and encouraging cooperation and collaboration. Experiment 1: Effect of Happy Hour Attendance on CV. Methods For this study, we randomly chose 10 regular Happy Hour attendees from the University of Michigan's Cognitive Psychology area for our experimental condition. We calculated the mean number of publications listed on these participants' Curriculums Vita (Cs V). Finding an appropriate control group is, of course, impossible, and so we used a within-participant design. Cs V were obtained from the Participants (Ps) from the time before they began attending Happy Hour, and the mean number of publications were calculated in the same manner as above. Results Mean publications for Ps before attending Happy Hour was 15.3 (sd=10.5). Mean publications after attending Happy Hour was 18.5 (sd=9.8). In fact, of the ten Ps, only two did not increase. The CV of one P, (PH) did decrease, but only by .5 publications. Using the Non-parametric One-tailed Chi-squared Test for Paired Comparison, we found this to be significant p<.005. Experiment 2: Coolness Methods The ten Ps that took part in experiment 1 also took part in this experiment. As the nature of the task precluded a within-participant design, we carefully chose a control group by matching participants on gender, weight, and hair color. Control subjects were drawn from Ann Arbors general population, with the requirement that they were on South University on a Friday afternoon, and NOT attending a Happy Hour. Two independent raters were chosen from the University of Michigan's Cognitive Psychology Research Assistant Corps. Both of these raters were blind to the objective of the study, creating a truly double-blind experiment. Each of the participants was rated on a Likert-type scale of Coolness, as shown in figure 1: Figure 1: Likert's Scale of Coolness 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Dork Geek Corny OK Cool Way Cool Elvis Results Five of the Ps in the Experimental condition (STM, DH, SP, WG, and WS) were deemed to be outliers as they were rated below 1. The remaining experimental participants averaged 4.6 (sd=1.2). The participants in the control condition averaged 4.3 (sd=1.3). As these Ps were chosen to closely match those in the experimental group, a paired comparison's t-test was performed t(10)=3.5, p=.07. This marginally significant result should be interpreted in light of the fact that a large number of members of the experimental group were outliers; had the degrees of freedom not been reduced by this loss, this clearly would have been significant. Experiment 3: Community Building A theory popular in anthropology suggests that societies start to fall apart when their members stop drinking together. Evidence for this has been found in ancient Greece, Northern Ireland, and Utah. We investigated this theory by examining a number of other University of Michigan departments that do not have Happy Hour. These departments include Classics, Discrete Mathematics, Biochemical Engineering, and Elementary Education. As collaberation and cooperation are two factors that we believe affect many other aspects of the the academic reputation of a department, we examined the US News and World Report Annual Graduate Programs rating issue (1998). To our astonishment, of the departments at the University of Michigan that do not have a regular happy hour, none were even rated among the top 25 experimental psychology programs. As the Cognitive psychology area is ranked in the top five, this is certainly significant p<.001! Experiment 4: Happy Hour Area of the Brain. Two of the participants in experiment 2 were selected for study in an fMRI study; one from the experimental group and one from the control group. We attempted to localize the Happy Hour area of the brain. To do this, the "Happy Hour" participant was asked to consume three glasses of Killian's red and two Count Twists dipped in special Twist Sauce prior to the scanning session. The Control subject consumed three glasses of non-alcoholic beer and two pieces of Wonder Bread dipped in coffee grounds. Ps were viewed in the scanner as they watched Headline News on a TV that was specially designed so that the upper part of the screen stretched the image out of shape, making Hugh Downs look like Gumby. Additionally, Ps were presented with aural stimulation simulating inane chatter about degrees of freedom and levels of significance, with an occasional outburst crying "Can we PLEAAAASSSE talk about something besides Psychology???!!!!" Results These scans produced pictures (data) which were carefully aligned with a map of Telluride, Colorado. Activation from the control participant was subtracted from that of the experimental participant, and it was found that the Rodman areas #2, 3, 45, 26, and 37 were significantly more active in the Happy Hour Participant. We conclude that the Happy Hour part of the brain is located in the Ipsolateral-Pre-Ventral-medio-temporal frontal cortices. Additionally, these areas arrange themselves in a "Happy Face", suggesting that Happy Hour makes for a Happy Brain. General Discussion Happy Hour clearly does not deserve the reputation it has earned in modern America. For the last decade, it has fallen into the company of cigarettes and Zubas (r), as a thing that is enjoyed with gusto by a few misfits, and totally scorned by the rest of society. As we have shown, not only is this image ill-deserved, Happy Hour attendance is actually good for one's career, one's social life, one's job, and one's brain. Although more research must be done, we hope this will convince many to enjoy their next Happy Hour, or perhaps even start one of their own. It's Fun! It's Cool! Its Friday and its 4:00!