Psychology Paper of the Day

… in Frontiers in Psychology. And it comes with an incredible title:

Weight lifting can facilitate appreciative comprehension for museum exhibits

Given the recent perceived intellectual crisis in psychology, my pessimistic self thought that the paper would be describing another one of those studies with counterintuitive conclusions that cannot be replicated. However, to my surprise, behind the seemingly outrageous title is a neat little idea about better structuring visitors’ museum experiences.

In its most basic form, the neat little idea is that exhibit surrogates, even extremely simple ones, can allow visitors to have richer, multimodal experiences of exhibits. In this case, the researchers used simple weights to approximate the haptic dimension of the animal skeletons on display. The animal skeletons are, of course, locked behind glass and otherwise untouchable. The simple weights give museum visitors a way to “touch” them. Through this richer, multimodal experience, visitors found greater enjoyment in the exhibit.