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on 13 January 2018
If you have studied Psychology there probably won’t be much you haven’t already come across in here. If you haven’t, and you have an interest in Psychology and human behaviour, then this will be a great read.
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on 8 March 2016
Interesting. Worth a read and fun tests.
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on 1 January 2016
xmnas present
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 May 2017
came to this book late, via Ben Ambridge's more recent title Are You Smarter than a Chimpanzee? In that book, it was the human side that I found more interesting than the animal psychology, so a whole book on people in Ambridge's amiable, entertaining style seemed a good bet - as it proved to be.

There was a fair amount here that you will have come across if you've read any other popular psychology books, from the ultimatum game to common psychological illogicalities, like our tendency to give more value to something we own than something we don't. However, there was also enough that I'd never seen before to make it an entertaining read, and even the familiar was often worth revisiting.

One of the more unusual things that Ambridge did was to take in a few borderline psychology/psychiatry concepts from the Rorshach Test to Freud's dream analysis and mildly debunk them. I say 'mildly' as Ambridge doesn't tear into them, but gently points out their lack of scientific basis.

Quite a lot of the psychological treats in this miscellany involve taking a little test. Those that can be done quickly and without writing in the book go down a treat, though once it's necessary to write I suspect a fair number of readers will just look at them and not bother to do them (I'm afraid I did) - which is a shame as we get insights into everything from personality tests to graphology (guess what - it doesn't work). I particularly liked the way that Ambridge takes on the really well known psychology experiments, such as the famous Milgram experiment where subjects were asked to give another volunteer repeated electric shocks, and shows that the traditional interpretation of these experiments may well be wrong.

I've a few quibbles. Ambridge takes without question the 2 sigma level for significance, which is far too low as far as physicists are concerned, and frequently gives a web link that doesn't actually take you to the page for the book. (It's still there, but you have to hunt for it via two levels of indirection.) And he totally misunderstands the finances of Concorde when using it as an example of the sunk cost fallacy, suggesting that the airlines kept putting good money after bad, where the airlines actually made a tidy profit flying Concorde (plus huge kudos) - it was the governments who sponsored the construction who lost money.

All in all, if you've read several popular psychology books, you probably won't find a lot that's new - but for absolute beginners, or those who want to remind themselves of the fun bits, this is a must.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 August 2014
Ben Ambridge is a qualified psychologist who states that it is a scientific study of human behaviour, not a tag that anyone can apply to themselves. He judges his audience to perfection. Amongst the factual psychological data, he introduces tests. We all enjoy assessing our profiles with interactive scores that may tell us, for example, whether we're nice people or psychopaths. These are handled without criticism but at the same time may be revealing. This is not only educational but also bundles of fun. How we score is addictive. From The Rorschach test (ink-blot analysis that is amusing), Ambridge take us through more than 100 tests, mostly tick-the-box, with often revealing conclusions. Others are more complicated. He illustrates the book with experiments performed in the past along with how we form opinions. These are fascinating insights into how our behavioural make-up has been framed.

This is a Kindle review. I agree that filling in questionnaires require pencil and paper, but passing on a book to members of the family and friends with answers erased with a rubber is a dead giveaway to our hidden selves. This is an excellent insight into our 'Psyche', unstressful, until the realisation of our make-up may tell us more than we wanted to know. This is educational in the gentlest sense but also great entertainment and a minefield for discussion amongst friends and whomsoever.
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on 15 November 2015
This book is really "Pinker lite". Interesting but really just a taster - if you want more detail read "The Blank Slate" or almost anything else by Steven Pinker. Also, I didn't realise it was full of quizzes which you can't fill in on your Kindle, which is really annoying.
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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2014
Very easy-to-read - the short sections keep things interesting, and you never get bogged down in anything. Despite being thick, it's actually quite a quick read: I got through it in a day, and I'm not a particularly fast reader. Would be even better if there was an index - I tried to go back and find a particular concept and it took me ages to find it!
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on 5 August 2014
This is brilliant fun - a guide to psychology through dozens of bite-size quizzes, puzzles, jokes and some really eye-opening debunkings of famous experiments. The author is genuinely knowledgeable and has a wicked sense of humour. It's serious psychology but serious fun too. Every page has a new treat!
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on 6 October 2014
Very good book, good bit of humour and very interesting snippets factoids interweaved into the chapters. Great exercises and good precis of well know psychology studies and interesting personal views on them. Would recommend to any psychology student or someone with an interest in psychology. Also good references and suggestions of where to get papers etc. A lot of my colleagues want a copy of it.
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VINE VOICEon 7 August 2014
This is a brilliant book. I absolutely love it. It is incredibly interesting yet great fun to read and do. It is packed full of exercises and they are serious psychology tests but they are presented in a fun way with an easy to understand explanation and evaluation. The writer adds jokes and real fun stuff. He is clearly very academic but he presents his material in a very accessible, informative way
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