Sex, aggression, and humour: responses to unicycling

Here’s an emeritis professor of dermatology (Norwich UK) who took up unicycling after retirement. Pretty soon, he goes through all the “where’s your other wheel” jokes and other verbal and non-verbal responses that every out-going unicyclist is familiar with. But he is a researcher and makes a thorough and systematic study of all the reactions, classified for sex, age, social class etc, and writes a scientific paper that seems quite serious. He reaches the conclusion that the differences in responses are driven by differing levels of male hormones (notably testosterone) in the respondents’ bodies. I’m not sure if the whole thing is meant tongue-in-cheek. When looked at with that mindset, I found it fun to read.

Read the whole paper at the website of British Medical Journal:

Great article. I especially liked the list of response that he recorded. I am sure that we can all validate his experience.

I Loved the use of a unicycle as an unexpected stimulus to a random group of people. I always thought there was more to unicycling then me just having fun.

I also liked his chart. It appears that as men get older and their testosterone goes down, they become less aggressive and they become funnier.


It might be worth noting that responses differ based on the type of unicycling being done. Big-wheel riding and MUni both garner significantly different responses than simply toodling around town. (Different, but not inconsistent with the study’s conclusions).