Quirkology: The Curious Science of Everyday Lives Paperback – Unabridged, 1 Jul 2009
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'Wiseman's easy-going divertissement recounts numerous curiosities
of modern psycology.' -- Guardian
'entertaining and energetic...packed with vignettes that are
perfect for dinner parties or pub conversations.' -- The Times --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the bestselling author of 59 SecondsSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
If you enjoy these kinds of conversations, you will love this book. (It even includes a list of the factoids most likely to prompt discussion). Psychologist Richard Wiseman has conducted a number of studies over the years looking into the ways that people behave and also reports on some other people's experiments. Some of the things that I learned while reading this book were:
- How asking people to trace the letter Q on their forehead is a good predictor of how good a liar they are.
- How our memories can be tricked into creating false memories and why this happens.
- How a waiter can dramatically increase his chances of getting a tip.
- Why you are more likely to be attracted to people when you're in a precarious situation that elevates your heart-rate (so maybe Hollywood storylines aren't so far-fetched after all)
- That words containing the "K" sound are especially likely to make people laugh, because of the way they contort the facial muscles.
The book is written in a lively and entertaining fashion and in parts is very amusing. While it's quite disjointed, it held my interest throughout. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest why people behave the way they do. Our behaviour is more predictable than we think.
Firstly, despite promising us examples of all kinds of quirkiness from the world of psychology research, I just didn't find it all that quirky. I felt that some examples, such as the theory that the way to tell if a smile is genuine is to look at the eyes, would already be fairly well-known among the type of people who would be interested in this book.
While I appreciate that writing a book about psychological studies that interests the general public may be rather difficult, I also found the book to be incredibly superficial in its handling of its subject matter. Studies were explained very briefly in the most part, followed by sweeping statements about society based on those studies' findings. Usually only one or two studies were used to form these conclusions, which made me wonder whether Richard Wiseman was genuinely justified to do that or whether he was jumping to conclusions at times. There was hardly any critique or analysis of the studies mentioned; there were times when a study was explained in a reasonable-length summary along with its findings, and then followed by one sentence to tell the reader that "however, other researchers have not been able to replicate these findings". Surely it would have been relevant to give the reader some information about these subsequent studies and the reasons why the researchers weren't able to replicate the findings. I also wondered whether the studies quoted actually showed the things he claimed they did. For example, Prof.Read more ›
In contrast, this book is fresh, understandable and exciting. Full to the brim with psychological studies that are anything from interesting to amusing, this book delves not only into the quirkier aspects of human behaviour, but also into some of the quirkier studies that scientists get up to (when no one is looking).
A few examples to illustrate my point:
Quack (as opposed to Moo, Grrr or Woof) is perceived to be the most funny animal sound. Apparently, it's because a `k' sound makes you smile and therefore others with you. A good one to remember for job interviews...
By monitoring behaviour at checkout queues, where you are only allowed to have 10 items (and most people, invariably have 12 or 15), scientists discovered that the people most likely to break minor rules of conduct (which includes speed limits) are female van drivers. Now you know what to beware of when driving!
The book is packed with many more such examples, all with comments on how the findings could be explained.
Ultimately the book is much more than just a series of weird facts and fantastical experiments. As with all good science (and this belongs to the best), it tells us something very relevant about us - our hopes, fears and those mannerisms we just don't seem to be able to shake. Thus, it opens up a whole new way of looking at others - and yourself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I picked up a copy of Quirkology on a French campsite book exchange having previously enjoyed reading Richard Wiseman's self-help book 59 Seconds. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Stephanie Jane
Basically just a book which references lots of other people's experiments and doesn't get much deeper than that.Published 3 months ago by Elizabeth Addison - Smith
Can't really comment as I bought this as a gift for a family member who wanted it.Published 13 months ago by cartman
Witty,clever, informative and surprising at times; I discovered this bookwith pleasure and have recommended it since.Published 13 months ago by M. Granger Yves
Richard Wiseman's Quirkology - packed with off-the-wall facts & studies into the human psyche - is certainly a fun & entertaining read. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Steve Cann
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