Weird Science Weekly: Women are more likely to steal Halloween candy than men

Weird science happens every day, all around us. This week, we have four of the weirdest examples, including who you really need to hide your Halloween candy from, how childhood imaginary friends can help later in life, the real origin of putting frogs' legs on the menu, and how babies are a lot sharper than we might think...

Women are more likely to steal Halloween candy than men

With Halloween just around the corner, kids should be aware that the parent they need to worry about hiding their candy from is Mom, not Dad.

Apparently everyone is tempted to dig into the Halloween candy before the actual day arrives. However, according to a survey conducted for the National Confectioners Association (NCA), many parents dip into their kids' spoils after that night of costumed candy collection. In the survey, a full 26 per cent of parents admit to waiting until their kids go to bed before pilfering some. 55 per cent of parents have the rule about sharing. When it comes to who can be caught with their hand in the candy bag more, it's Mom who's the most guilty... or at least most organized in enforcing the sharing rule. 84 per cent of women admitted to this, versus 74 per cent of men.

According to NCA spokeswoman Susan Whiteside, it's more about tradition than gender, really: "More and more, Halloween is becoming something people don't want to give up as they get older."

So, be careful with your candy kids, but just remember, your Mom probably knows all the best hiding places already.

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Your child's imaginary friend can help them later in life

We've seen this in the movies: your childhood imaginary friend comes back 'to life' when you're an adult, with hilarious but healing consequences. However, this apparently has some truth to it, although maybe not quite the way the scriptwriters might have imagined.

According to researchers in the UK, 'private speech' — where a child carries on quiet conversations with themselves — is important, as it represents a kind of 'inner dialogue' that helps them talk their way through a complicated problem to find the best solution.

This private speech develops through talking with real people, but the researchers' study showed that having an imaginary friend around to carry on these private conversations with can apparently work just as well, or maybe even better. They found that those kids who have an imaginary friend to talk to used private speech twice as often as the kids who didn't have an imaginary friend.

Interesting stuff. I wonder if the same can be said for those who talk to themselves...

Frogs' legs turn out to be English cuisine, not French

Frog's legs are considered to be a purely French meal, and were even the inspiration for their most common nickname. However, according to new findings near Stonehenge, that nickname might need to take a leap over the channel to land in its proper home.

An archaeological dig near the famed stone monuments turned up the charred bones of toads, which had obviously been cooked and eaten. The site has been dated back to at least 6250 BC, meaning that frogs' legs was an English dish long before the French were ever identified with them. Team leader David Jacques points out that it's a significant find, as it shows how the Stonehenge area was occupied for a long time and all year long. With frog and toad legs having a lot of meat on them, they were an ample supply of protein for people to survive on.

"There were really rich food resources for people and they were eating everything that moved," Jacques told The Guardian, "but we weren't expecting frogs' legs as a starter."

Personally? When it comes to English food, I'll just stick with fish and chips.

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Babies can tell when you're faking

Given how young babies are, people can be forgiven for assuming that they don't know much about what's going on around them. However, it appears as though they're a lot sharper than we might think.

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Keep your eyes on the wonders of science, and if you spot anything particularly strange you'd like me to check out for next week, comment below or drop me a line on Twitter!

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

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