Ig Nobel prizes
Scenes from the 25th First Annual Ig Nobel Prizes 2015 awards ceremony at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The 2016 awards took place on 22 September Reuters

Scientists who designed trousers for rats, researched the personalities of rocks and tried living among animals were among the recipients of the annual Ig Nobel awards at Harvard University where Nobel winners honour the year's oddest research.

When the Egyptian urologist Ahmed Shafik designed trousers for rats, he found that those in polyester garments exhibited lower rates of sexual activity. Meanwhile, Mark Avis, Sarah Forbes and Shelagh Ferguson, a team from New Zealand and the UK, were noted for their study of the "brand personality" of rocks.

Briton Thomas Thwaite received an award for his experiment where he made prosthetic limbs that let him live among goats. He spent three days eating grass and bleating with a herd in the Swiss Alps as research for his book GoatMan.

He told BBC News: "I was just sort of walking around, you know chewing grass, and just looked up and then suddenly realised that everyone else had stopped chewing.

"There was this tension which I hadn't kind of noticed before and then one or two of the goats started tossing their horns around and I think I was about to get in a fight," he said.

Another Briton, Charles Foster, tried to live like a badger, an otter, a fox and a stag so he could document his experiences in the book Being a Beast.

Meanwhile, the peace prize went to philosophers from Canada and the US who published a paper titled On the Reception and Detection of Pseudo-Profound Bullsh*t.

By creating grammatical sentences of buzzwords, they looked at whether or not people considered them gibberish. Examples included "wholeness quiets infinite phenomena" and "hidden meaning transforms unparalleled abstract beauty."

They asked students to rate the "profoundness" of real and invented statements on a scale of one to five, and to search for meaning in those statements.

Chemistry award

Those students most "receptive to bullshit", they found, were "less reflective, lower in cognitive ability" and more likely "to hold religious and paranormal beliefs".

"There is little question that bullsh*t is a real and consequential phenomenon," the scientists wrote, according to The Guardian.

The American science humour magazine, the Annals of Improbable Research, is behind the Ig Nobels, which are now in their 26th year.

One of the most tongue-in-cheek awards was for chemistry which went to the automaker Volkswagen which was caught violating US emissions law.

The Ig Nobel committee said the award was "for solving the problem of excessive automobile pollution emissions by automatically, electro-mechanically producing fewer emissions whenever the cars are being tested".

During the ceremony audience members carried out the tradition of throwing paper planes while real Nobel laureates attempted to hand out the prizes.