Written by IainB
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Thursday, 20 March 2014

image for People have a favourite number
My favourite number is infinity, but I only ever see it when a number 8 falls over

With most of the important subjects having been covered a PhD student in Manchester has researched the inclination of people to have a favourite number, and see it wherever they go.

"My doctorate is in people's predilection for seeing their favourite number in all walks of life," said Sam Pull, who constructed and carried out the survey in order to become a doctor of miscellany.

The first question in the survey was to discover if people had a favourite number.

"This was one of the surprising findings in the survey," said Pull. "It turns out that nearly everybody questioned did have a favourite number."

The second question asked what the favourite number. The small percentage of people who didn't have a favourite number still managed to answer this question, usually with the answer "I told you, I don't have a favourite number."

There was a wide spread of numbers, according to Pull. However, twenty-seven turned out to be quite popular. "One of the more unusual answers that cropped up quite a bit," said Pull, "was pi. You know, the constant? I suppose people thought they were being unique, but it's actually the third most popular number."

Once establishing the presence and accuracy of the favourite number, it turns out that those with one, would see their number wherever they went.

"They'd live at a house with that number, have it as their favourite meal at their local Chinese and have random occurrences where the number appeared, such as their allocated seat on an airline."

The paper on people's preferred numbers has been published in a peer review journal. Popular psychologist, Henrik Daimler has poo-pooed the notion.

"People have randomly assigned significance to some arbitrary numeracy value," he said with a pomposity belied by his arrogance. "When people are looking for a number, they will find it, as we are bombarded by numbers everywhere. Does it repeat in their credit card? Is it duplicated in their mobile number? Probably the answer to both is 'no', yet when they do see it - the table they are sat at in a restaurant, for instance, they then spot it, and remember this as important. The whole thing is poppycock."

Pull is undeterred by the naysayers, and intends to go for a secondary doctorate with a PhD in people's favourite letter.

"Or I might do colours," he added. "I've not decided yet."

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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