In a groundbreaking new study, scientists at Some University have discovered that a single molecule may drive people to perform that complex behavior we’ve all observed. Though other researchers consider the results of the small, poorly structured experiment misleading, a well-written press release ensures that their criticisms will be restricted to brief quotes buried near the bottoms of most news stories on the work, if they’re included at all.
“This is a real game-changer for our understanding of this complex behavior, which has affected so many lives,” said Wannabe Famous, PhD, who directed the study. Dr. Famous describes the results, which were hyped relentlessly to journalists for a week before being published in today’s issue of A Scientific Journal, as “the Holy Grail of a field that has been trying to link this single molecule to a complex behavior for decades.”
Though he cautions that the findings are too preliminary to be a basis for any specific recommendations, Dr. Famous says that drugs targeting the single molecule could some day help treat patients displaying this complex behavior. “It’s a controversial issue, because of course complex behaviors are what make us human, or at least animal, but for people dealing with the broken marriages, inadvisable purchases, and stained kitchen tiles that this behavior can cause, a workable therapy would be a blessing,” said Dr. Famous.
The new results add to a growing body of evidence that all of human nature rests on a handful of chemical reactions. Researchers initially believed that the widely-acknowledged link between testosterone and carpentry was a fluke, but studies connecting dopamine to scuba diving, and oxytocin to the production of cat videos on YouTube, have drawn more attention to the seductive power of oversimplifications. “We’re really standing on the shoulders of giants,” said Famous.
Other scientists agree, at least when quoted selectively. “Famous’s result is just unbelievable,” said one researcher, who asked not to be named after seeing a draft of this article.
Nonetheless, controversy persists in the field, especially among those whose statements are harder to misconstrue. “This single molecule has a bunch of different functions, most of which we probably don’t even know yet, and there are thousands of other signaling molecules circulating in the body at any given time, so claiming that it’s the sole cause of this complex behavior is just absurd,” said Grumpy Skeptic, PhD.
But Famous remains undaunted, and argues that his results will ultimately stand on their own whether other researchers replicate them or not. “Ten years from now, if you ask someone whose science education consists mainly of skimming news stories, I’m sure they’ll confirm that this single molecule causes this complex behavior,” said Famous.