The 2010 study, conducted on 103 people in Queensland, Australia, found that problem gamblers were likely to place higher bets after handling the reptiles, as their brains had misinterpreted the excitement of holding a dangerous animal as a sign they were on a lucky streak.
A multi-national team of six researchers won the Peace Prize for the 2005 paper “Didgeridoo Playing as Alternative Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome: Randomized Controlled Trial.”
The conclusion that the Australian wind instrument might be of some benefit was based not the didgeridoo’s droning tone, but rather that the daily practice involved a lot of blowing, and may have strengthened the upper respiratory tract, making breathing easier.
The awards, now in their 27th year, are to be handed out by actual Nobel Prize winners in a ceremony at Harvard University.
“They are unusual approaches to things,” said Abrahams. “It would be difficult for some people to decide whether they are important or the opposite. If you had sleep apnea for a long time, the didgeridoo thing would sound quite intriguing.”