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The Great Apple Experiment

X-posted on Skepchick

Last week I tweeted a link to a ridiculous Daily Fail article where a woman named Nikki Owen tries to convince us that saying nice things to apples will make them prettier, and therefore saying nice things to your face will similarly make it less hideous.

She claimed to have done real SCIENCE to back this up, so I thought it only fair to attempt to replicate her results. Since she has asked all her followers to also do the experiment and post results, I’m asking my audience of scientists (pro and amateur alike) to have a go using proper blinding and controls:

I’ve set up a Facebook page where you can post your results. As I mention in the video (below), Nikki has also posted pics on her page, though it’s not a group page so she controls all the results.

After the jump, see what Nikki’s fans are saying about me! I’ve also posted the transcript of the video.

My favorite is that someone thinks the mustaches on the jars will affect the results. If it’s that easy, just wear a mustache to bed every night and wake up looking like a million bucks! Forget Nikki Owens’ seminars (£595); just invest in my mustache set (£1 £30 £50)!

To be fair, though, I did choose the most hateful mustache I had for the hate apple.


Last week the Daily Fail published an article in which some moron named Nikki Owen told the world that saying nice things to yourself in the mirror will make you prettier. Nikki claims this is backed up by science, because she did an experiment with apples.

Nikki’s experiment involved cutting an apple into pieces and placing each piece in a different jar. She said mean things to one apple and nice things to the other apple, and after one week the hate apple will be more decayed than the love apple.

I’ll give you a moment for that to sink in.

Nikki says that apples and the human body are both 60% water. This isn’t true…for humans, it’s anywhere from 45 to 75% with an average percentage of about 57, and for apples it’s about 85%, but let’s ignore reality for a moment and go back to Nikki. Because apples are pretty much the same as faces, she says that her experiment proves being nice to your face will make it better looking. Of course you can hire her to train you to do this or you can buy her books.

Her little theory is based on Dr Emoto, a guy who published a thoroughly debunked study in which he spoke to water crystals in petrie dishes and found that nicer words made prettier crystals.

I decided to test Nikki’s hypothesis myself. First I bought three nice jars from the local 99-pence store, a magical place that also sold a whole pack of mustaches for the low low price of 99 pence.

Then I found a nice, fresh, bruise-free Gala apple at my local farmer’s market and cut it into quarters. One piece would be the love apple, one would be the hate apple, and the other would be the control apple of indifference. The fourth quarter was smeared with peanut butter and consumed, marking yet another way that human faces are different from apples.

Finally, I talked to my apples.

Apple, I never really thought you would come to much.

Apple, you look marvelous today!


I’ll do this every day and I’ll film it, and at the end of the week I’ll show you the results. You can decide which apple looks the worse for wear, and then I’ll reveal which apple is which.

If you’d like, you can play along. Upload your own video as a response to this one, just please remember to use a control apple and let someone who doesn’t know which apple is which tell you which looks better. I’ve also started a Facebook page where you can upload pics if you’d like.

Nikki’s followers have posted their own successful anecdotes on her Facebook page, so I’d like to see if skeptics using proper controls come to the same conclusion.

I guess we’ll see.

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