Hoax paper published in predatory journal purports to show that butt-wiping hand is correlated with one’s politics

July 11, 2018 • 1:15 pm

A reader who shall remain unnamed sent me a link to a paper (below, link here or at screenshots) that is a hoax sent by the reader’s friend who also wishes to remain anonymous (I don’t know the author’s name). The journal is a predatory one, Psychology and Psychotherapy: Research Study, produced by Crimson Publishers. The paper is so obviously fraudulent that it apparently wasn’t even read before it was published. Here’s what our reader sent, with his/her acquaintance’s note indented below that. The summary of the paper is in the second paragraph, and, as you see, it was published without having to pay a publication fee.

From an acquaintance who wishes to remain anonymous. What I find most interesting is that the publisher produces a number of different journals and that a great many articles have been published in them. The attached article is in the fourth issue of its particular journal.

I submitted a hoax manuscript to a predatory journal. The finding? Politicians from the right wipe their ass with their left hand (and vice versa) – big breakthrough! Manuscript accepted w/o review. I then haggled the OA fee down to $0 – so here it is ––>

I’ll send the pdf to anyone who asks, and here are a few hilarious paragraphs from the paper:

We took inspiration from the social priming-which has been validated by Nobel prize winning economists, and has shown us amazing new facts about the unconscious mind. In a nutshell, social priming suggests that one’s position on the left-right political dimension might be embodied. In short, one might expect to find that the hand one wipes one’s bottom with is predictable by one’s political position. This prediction is complicated, however, by inter-hemispheric cross-talk. Specifically, the left-wing political affiliate might wipe the bottom with the right hand, and vice versa. We favor this prediction because the brain is the seat of consciousness, and so is a plausible contributor to political matters of this kind. We collected critical data to test this hypothesis. We report this data next.

Notice the bogus statistics and the sample size of 7:


The descriptive statistics showed a clear pattern. Politicians of the right were more likely to wipe their bottoms with their left hand (4 out of 4). The opposite pattern was seen for politicians of the left, with 3 of 4 wiping their bottoms with the right hand (Jeremiah Doorbin responded that he used a munchkin from The Sound of Music to do the wiping, but intimated that if did the wiping it would depend on which hand was free at the time). Using structural equation modeling us formally confirmed this finding – the AIC was 1654.23 and the RMSEA was .02. These are excellent fit statistics although the model makes little sense.

Future research:

Strengths of the study include the ecological validity – very few studies use real life politicians. Weaknesses include the fact we did not formally confirm the wiping hand – to do so was thought to violate ethical (and possibly national security) protocol. A second weakness was noted by one of our seven anonymous reviewers (Dr I.P. Daly) who noted: “I can’t help wondering, though, about the ass-wiping practices of political centrists and independents – do they alternate hands, or do they use both hands at the same time? Also, recently I had to switch the hand I normally use as I acquired a painful blister (I won’t trouble with you the details of how); and now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure I felt inexplicably drawn to the Daily Mail that day. So you might consider supplementing this work with experimental manipulation”. Thus we recommend experiments. We leave it up to future researchers to determine what variable might be best to manipulate.

Future projects might extend the current work by exploring if the findings extend to the hand with which one pleasures their genitals, or strokes their beloved pet pooch. We enthusiastically encourage this work.

The lesson is twofold: don’t believe everything that’s published, even in a “scientific” journal, and avoid the journal Psychology and Psychotherapy: Research Study.

30 thoughts on “Hoax paper published in predatory journal purports to show that butt-wiping hand is correlated with one’s politics

      1. I should have been clearer…I’m betting that they WILL say something weasely to get out of it, like it was a knowing hoax. If you take the position that they won’t, I’m definitely good for $20 to your favorite charity! I’ll leave it up to you to say by when they need to do it–you know more about publishing cycles for these journals than I.

      2. The post code is a joke as well -the last bit is made up but the first would make it near Chalfont St Giles = piles in rhyming slang…

    1. Fisher’s exact probability test gives p = 0.14 for the reported outcome. Of course, with n = 8 . . . “Political and Fecal Science” indeed.

      1. I redid Fisher’s test, this time with n=7, and got p = 0.03 (significant) for the fabricated data. Lesson: Check the calculations before publishing.

  1. This is probably actually true of Muslims. Hadiths forbid butt cleaning with the right hand, so barring some strange practice and skill of doing this with your feet or something privy to only the Muslims, they are doing it with their left hand if following scripture. Assuming most that will strictly follow this rule are conservative and to the right politically, the majority of these Muslims will be left hand wipers.

    1. Simon and Garfunkel, “A simple, desultory philippic” (1965, on “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme”), verse 1:
      I been Norman Mailered, Maxwell Taylored
      I been John O’Hara’d, McNamara’d
      I been Rolling Stoned and Beatled till I’m blind
      I been Ayn Randed, nearly branded
      Communist, ’cause I’m left-handed
      That’s the hand I use, well, never mind

    1. This is an old grade school joke from the 1960s. Back then there were many “famous books’ including
      “Yellow River” by I.P. Daly, illustrated by Betty Dont,
      “JOurney over the Mountain” by Hugo First
      “Falling DOwn” by Eileen Dover
      “Where I Itch” by Mike Rotch

      and many others.

      My favorite was “Stampede in the Jungle” by Hugh GoostaMoost, which inspired my own “Sexual Harassment at the Health Spa” by Hugh GoostaMassuese

  2. Just downloaded the pdf from the journal’s web site (July 11, 4:15 pm EST). Wondering how long it will remain there.

  3. Brilliant. Just brilliant. Especially linking the idea of politics and things that come out of politicians’ asses.

  4. Conversely (I think it’s conversely) a genuine paper was published by some colleagues of mine on bacteriophage populations in raw sewage, but there was a semi-gag. If you read the paper extremely closely, you’ll find that they used Shinola as a control. They actually did – procured on eBay. They expected the reviewers would ask that it be removed, but they didn’t mention it, and so now it’s there for posterity. Or is that posteriority?

    1. I had to Google Shinola to get the reference. That is surely an American-only in-joke – but a bloody good one!



  5. I learned in seminary that “Turn The Other Cheek” was significant because it meant your enemy would now have to slap you with the hand they wiped their butt with in a world without toilet paper.
    Too bad that wasn’t in this hoax.

  6. A sample size of 8?

    I’m no scientist and I’ve never published anything, but I would think that would bin it right then and there, no further reading needed.


  7. Anyone in London would know this was a joke from the address – not a London postcode! No one bothered to even slap that into the search box on Google maps…

    1. Not to mention it would be “Faecal Science”, not “Fecal”.

      How anybody could fail to spot such an obvious blunder, words fail me……

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