In this remarkable paper, Mike Adams (Eastern Connecticut State University) thoroughly (to say 🙂 wittily and jestingly) scrutinizes a fundamental problem: a student’s grandmother is far more likely to die suddenly just before the student takes an exam, than at any other time of year. For over twenty years Professor Adams have collected data on this relationship, that resulted in illuminating insights, like that one:
“Only one conclusion can be drawn from these data. Family members literally worry themselves to death over the outcome of their relatives’ performance on each exam. Naturally, the worse the student’s record is, and the more important the exam, the more the family worries; and it is the ensuing tension that presumably causes premature death. Since such behavior is most likely to result in high blood pressure, leading to stroke and heart attacks, this would also explain why these deaths seem to occur so suddenly, with no warning and usually immediately prior to the exam. It might also explain the disproportionate number of grandmothers in the victim pool, since they are more likely to be susceptible to strokes.”
Believe me, don’t stop here and take a look at the full paper: Adams, Mike. 1990. “The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome and the Potential Downfall Of American Society.” The Connecticut Review 7 (2): 70-74. It also offers possible solutions to deal with this problem in order to reverse this trend before the country is depopulated.
Please, spread the word about it to your colleagues, students and friends. This important but ignored phenomenon, with its multiple societal and economic consequences, should be aired and follow-up research therefore required 🙂