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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elephants (And Psychologists?) On Acid, 11 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Elephants on Acid: And Other Bizarre Experiments (Paperback)
Elephants On Acid is made up of surprisingly entertaining, interesting content in a witty, humorous tone. I say surprisingly because I was not expecting a book that has apparently sold very well to have experiments that are well-picked and really well researched, in my opinion, as two of them were ones I studied in my AS-level psychology class, and the book went into more detail than my teachers did. Which might be a sign of bad teaching rather than a very well researched book but let's assume that's not the case.

There are ten chapters with each chapter's experiments being grouped together under a theme - For instance death, the senses, sleep, sex. Some experiments last only a page or two but others go on for a few more than that, and there are clever headings separating them from one another. There are the more well-known experiments (Such as Zimbardo's prison experiment), the experiments whose after-effects seem pretty well-known (Does Mozart make babies smarter?), the totally obscure (cockroach racing, anyone?) and the things everyone wonders about (Coke or pepsi?).

Personally, I feel that the first chapter is ill-placed as it's heavy on the animal decapitation and I think that might put some people off, for all the content is very interesting in its own disturbing way. So I say, preserve! I won't lie, there is some more decapitating etc to come post the first chapter. However, it's much more spread out and easier to take post chapter one as it's liberally overweighed by experiments ripe with whimsy, oddness and genuinely interesting (non-violent!) insights into human and animal behaviour.

It sounds corny, but I don't want this book to end, as while I know I can look more experiments up online or at the library they won't be grouped together so cleverly, infused with Boese's easy, clever sense of humour nor preceded by a short, fictional account based on the next experiment to be looked over. If you're interested in psychology, want a bit of a quirky read or something that you can pick up and put down without losing track of what's going on I say, buy it! If nothing else you'll pick up a few amusing tales to tell in awkward silence and the sense that, really, are psychologists really anything more than a bunch of smart children with access to some handy equipment and a scientific journal?
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Jun 2009 00:14:17 BDT
'So I say, preserve!'

I think you mean 'persevere'. As for psychologists being 'a bunch of smart children', that's a little unfair! Curiousity is not exclusively the domain of children and if one has it abundantly in adulthood, all the better for him. Otherwise, good review.

Ben.
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