At its best, scientific research yields new discoveries and innovations, from the double helix to better cancer treatments. But sometimes it simply serves to confirm the obvious. Here are seven studies that did just that in 2010:
1. Bigger breasts make for bigger tips
Last spring, Cornell professor Michael Lynn published "Determinants and Consequences of Female Attractiveness and Sexiness: Realistic Tests with Restaurant Waitresses" in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The study found that waitresses with bigger breasts got bigger tips, as did those who were slender and blonde. While the study's findings didn't exactly break any new ground, Lynn said "it's always important to test what seems like obvious cultural wisdom." His colleagues weren't so impressed. "I am disappointed but not surprised to learn that female servers with larger breasts receive more generous tips," said Professor Sherry F. Colb.
2. Men never stop wanting sex
In December, Australian scientists reported that sex was important for nearly half of men aged 75 to 95, and many wanted it more often than they were getting it. Judith Kuriansky, a clinical psychologist and Columbia University adjunct, wasn't too surprised by the findings. "Men who are over 75 are not over the hill anymore," she told MSNBC.
3. Little boys like cars
In April, researchers from London's City University announced at the British Psychological Society's annual conference what many parents have long known: Young boys intrinsically like cars, while girls like dolls. That's "obvious" said Colleen Egan at Parent Dish.
4. Appearances matter for female musicians
In April, researcher Noola Griffiths published a study titled "'Posh music should equal posh dress': an investigation into the concert dress and physical appearance of female soloists" in Psychology of Music, detailing how she'd found that what female musicians wear affects how audiences perceive their performance (Lady Gaga might have told her that). "The results are predictable but the context is interesting," says Ben Goldacre in The Guardian.
5. Performance-enhancing drugs enhance performance
Scores of "performance-enhancing" Olympians over the years weren't wrong. According to a study by the World Anti-Doping Agency, injections of testosterone and human growth hormones help athletes go faster. "This is helpful in showing those skeptics out there who say it doesn't help performance," the agency's director general said. It's the "most obvious study ever," said Chris Chase at Yahoo! Sports.
6. Men are more likely to pick up female hitchhikers with large breasts
Not only do bigger breasts make for bigger tips, they can be helpful to female hitchhikers looking for a ride. According to a French study, "Bust size and hitchhiking: a field study," male drivers are nearly 10 percent more likely to pick up a woman with a C cup versus an A cup. "I suppose that we could have all predicted this fact albeit it is fun to see it tested in a scientific manner," said Gad Saad, Ph.D. in Psychology Today.
7. Everybody's working for the weekend
In January, the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology published "Weekends, Work, and Well-Being: Psychological Need Satisfactions and Day of the Week Effects on Mood, Vitality, and Physical Symptoms," a study that presented a truth most of us know all too well: We feel our best from Friday night to Sunday afternoon and our worst while at work. "Science confirm the obvious" here, said Popular Science.