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The Worm Runner's Digest (W.R.D.) was created in 1959 by biologist James V. McConnell after his experiments with memory transfer in planarian worms generated a torrent of mail enquiries[1]. The W.R.D. published both satirical articles, such as A Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown, and scientific papers, the most famous of which, Memory transfer through cannibalism in planaria, was a result of McConnell's RNA memory transfer experiments with planarian worms and was later published in the Journal of Neurophysiology.

The title for the W.R.D., McConnell explained, was an extension of the psychological jargon that terms psychologists who work with rats "rat runners" and those who work with insects "bug runners."[2]

Amid complaint that the satirical articles and the scientific publications were not distinguishable, the satirical articles were printed upside down in the back half of the W.R.D. along with a topsy turvy back cover. In 1966, the title was changed to the Journal of Biological Psychology in an effort to make the publication more accessible to the scientific community[2].

Articles from the Worm Runner's Digest have been compiled and printed in a number of anthologies, including Science, Sex, and Sacred Cows and The Worm Re-Turns.


  1. Sommer, Robert (1991). "James McConnell (1925-1990)", American Psychologist 6(650).
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Worm Runners on the Run," Time Magazine 11/04/1966.,9171,842961-1,00.html

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