The test monitored the comings and goings of the beasts with the team from Scotland's Rural College researching whether the length of time cows spend lying down and standing up affects their health or happiness.
Pedometers were fitted to cows in farms in Dumfries and Edinburgh to try to establish the mood of the bovines. The team expected to find that as the cows became tired due to standing, they would become more likely to lie down. But they found that cows standing for six hours are just as likely to lie down as cows standing for only one hour.
The project won the Ig Nobel prize, which recognises attempts to get more people interested in science and technology.
Dr Bert Tolkamp, who collected the award at Harvard University in Massachusetts, said: "Our research is providing new opportunities to protect and improve cattle health and welfare."