Science confirms it: men trainwreck Continuous Story

No, seriously.

Prof. Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire conducted an experiment on his blog wherein commenters contributed to a story, one sentence at a time. The catch was that men and women contributed to separate stories, although both stories began with the same opening line.

The results:

The men’s story quickly veers into borderline incoherence as contributors keep throwing stuff in with little regard to the narrative thus far. The women’s story stays cohesive longer before losing control and resorting to the despicable all-just-a-dream-or-is-it ending. (Whereas the men introduced all-just-a-dream in the middle and kept going anyway, ultimate ending in a self-referential charlie foxtrot.)

Prof. Wiseman’s findings are independent replication of earlier experiments by Kuliniewicz et al, Purdue University, where repeated attempts at forming such collaborative narratives were made weekly. In those experiments, the results almost invariably fell within the “borderline incoherence” category, and the experimental population was overwhelming (90%+) male.

[Alas, the findings of Kuliniewicz et al remained unpublished, due to failure to follow proper experimental protocol with human subjects: subjects were led to believe they were attending a meeting of an organization called the “Purdue Improv Club”, but were not made aware of the deception and the true nature of the experiment afterwards. Also, there was a failure to establish a proper control group.]

Clearly, this is Prof. Wiseman’s most significant work in psychology since his infamous color-changing card trick:

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