UvA psychologist Simon Rietveld has won the Ig Nobel Prize for medicine, together with Ilya van Beest, professor of Psychology at the University of Tilburg. Their research showed that a rollercoaster ride may be helpful in fighting symptoms of asthma. The Ig Nobel Prizes are awarded for research ‘that makes people laugh and then think.'
Rietveld and Van Beest made participants in their research ride on the rollercoaster at a fun fair in Amsterdam. They exhibited negative stress before they went on the rollercoaster and exaggerated dyspnea (shortness of breath). Once out of the fairground attraction they were happy and exhibited positive stress, even though nearly two in five people had over ten per cent less lung capacity.
The scientists received the prize at Harvard University on 30 September. The Ig Nobel Prizes are an initiative of the scientific journal Annals of Improbable Research. The awards are presented by ‘real' Nobel Laureates.