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10 Strange Studies You Never Knew Existed

Biology, technology, psychology, and even Scientology- all of these words end with the suffix -logy. This suffix came from Greek, the cradle of Western civilization and modern sciences. The suffix -logy came from the Greek word lógos, meaning  “word, study, reason, discourse.” Some fields of study mentioned here are well-known, but others are downright bizarre and esoteric! Let's study 10 fields of research you've never heard of.

1. Autology

woman looking in the mirror
The study of oneself, or, self-knowledge. Every time you "study" your reflection in the mirror, you're practicing autology. And to be honest, who of us isn't an expert autologist? We all know our sun spots and wrinkles by heart and sometimes even remember the pimples that appeared long after they've healed. The very action of plucking or trimming facial hair away is a practice of autology. Examining your thoughts may also be considered autology. 

2. Balneology

man in bath

This one is probably your children's field of expertise - they do love splashing around in the bath, don't they? Balneology is the field of study investigating the therapeutic effects of baths and bathing. Balneology has a pretty extensive presence online, as there are endless photos of beautiful baths filled with candles and rose petals, and millions of online articles about its benefits. There are also countless bath products you can purchase, from salts and bath bombs to loofahs and oils. 

The etymology of the word is derived from balaneîon - the Greek word for bath or bathroom. 

Related articles: The Many Health Benefits of Taking a Hot Bath

 

3. Dysteleology

appendix pain
The esoteric study of purposeless things. How fascinating! We're not even cynical. Here are some examples of organs studied by dysteleology, to give you a clue what this field of research is all about: the ostrich's wings, our appendix, the hind limbs of snakes and whales. These are all called vestigial structures, and they’re vestiges from prehistoric ancestors.
This field of study is part of a larger philosophical field by the same name, which claims that there is no final purpose for existence. 

4. Escapology

Houdini in an escaping magic trick
If you thought magicians are just a nice pastime for your kid's birthday, think again. Magicians are, in fact, masters of the field of escapology, “the method or skill of extricating oneself from handcuffs, chains, etc., as of a magician or other performer.”, as defined by Dictonary.com.
As you probably guessed, this word and the word "escape" are closely related. I like to think we're all escapologists to some extent, especially when we wind down at the end of every day. In the picture above, by the way, you can see one of the true masters of Escapology, Houdini. 

5. Garbology

garbage field
When seeing this word, the first thing that comes to mind is high-fashion garbs. Unfortunately, that's hardly the case. This garb stands for garbage. Dictionary.com defines garbology as “the study of the material discarded by a society to learn what it reveals about social or cultural patterns.” Well, you know how the saying goes... One man's trash... And if you take a moment to think about it, you'll realize there's a lot you can learn about a household by digging through its trash. Makes you wonder what those cats and raccoons know about us... 

6. Hamartiology

This is a branch of Christian theology. Hamartiology is the study of sin. Hamartia is a Greek word meaning "error" or "mistake." It is also a stage of the Ancient Greek tragedies in which the hero realizes his fatal mistake that will have grave results at the end of the play. 

7. Kalology

female odel
The Greek word kalós means beauty. Can you guess what kalology studies? Kalology is the academic field investigating beauty through different lenses to try and answer the question "what makes something or someone beautiful?" This study is what gives models their jobs - they're globally considered attractive. 

8. Oikology

housekeeper holding towels
You'd probably never have guessed this, but this strange-sounding word is used to describe the studies of housekeeping! The roots of the word oikology, are, surprisingly, in the Greek word for home - oîkos. This is also the source of the word economy

9. Philematology

couple kissing on the cheek
The study of kissing. What's to study, you wonder? For example, a philematologist may study the muscles we activate during a kiss, or how many calories can be burned during a kiss. This study also investigates the biological consequences of the kiss of our body, brain, and spirit, as well as the different cultural meanings of kissing around the world. 
The word, as you probably guessed it, comes from the Greek word for kissing, phílēma

10. Scatology

And from the lovely study of kissing, straight to the study of dung. Yep, scatology is the study of dung. It can be fresh or fossilized, the scatologist doesn't mind. Scatology uses the same logic as garbology (the study of garbage), which says you can learn a lot about a person by their waste. It's not in vain that your doctor may ask to run tests on your feces - it really can reveal a lot about your health. One of the most influential books in the field is Scatologic Rites of All Nations by John Gregory Burke. He wrote it in the 1800s. The book discusses the various ways in which different cultures use human waste in different religious, therapeutic, and pagan rites. 

H/T: Dictionary.com

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