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Psychological Science Under Scrutiny: Recent Challenges and Proposed Remedies
Psychological Science Under Scrutiny: Recent Challenges and Proposed Remedies
by Scott O. Lilienfeld
Edition: Paperback
Price: £56.50

4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and much-needed book, 9 July 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Over the years I have becoming increasingly angry at the way psychological experiments are designed and reported. From even a layperson's perspective these experiments seem to rely on small samples, sloppy methodology, and question-begging conclusions. It's not hard to see why psychology is perceived by some as a 'pseudoscience'. When I saw this book, I chose and read it with alacrity as it promised to address, from within the community, these very issues.

This book of edited essays arose as a response to recent crises within the psychology community, including scientific fraud, non-replicability, underpowered studies, and poor use of statistical analysis. Part I deals with general issues such as false negatives, the null hypothesis, and decline effects. Part II examines how these issues affect specific fields such as fMRI, implicit prejudices studies, and parapsychology. Finally Part III looks at institutional and psychological obstacles such as confirmation bias, the need for individual scientists to achieve funding and tenure, and the role that fads play in funding.

I came to this book as a layperson with A-levels in maths and I found it readable, fascinating, and, for the most part, understandable. Key concepts such as a the null hypothesis are restated in several essays until I felt I had a grasp on them and it was only some of the more complicated maths that went over my head. However, even if you don't understand the equations, the general points being made are still clear. I didn't agree with everything in the book* (something the editors and contributors anticipate) and there are some minor editing errors. However, overall I would recommend this book to many people, scientists or not.

I finished this book feeling more educated but even angrier than before at the way certain experiments are conducted. What came across most clearly is that people (intentionally or subconsciously) are conducting experiments and applying statistical tools in a way most likely to get the results that confirm their hypothesis and scientific rigour falls by the wayside.

However, the existence of this book shows that there is a certain amount of soul-searching going on within the community and I hope that in the future psychologists will heed its advice, even if that results in less newsworthy conclusions and many more experiments which fail to reject the null hypothesis.

*For example, Jonathan W. Schooler's eagerness to embrace 'unconventional accounts' for the existence of decline effects seemed to embody the crisis that the rest of the book addresses.


Bioré Charcoal Pore Minimiser, 92ml
Bioré Charcoal Pore Minimiser, 92ml
Price: £4.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for oily skin, 9 July 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This face wash is good for making skin feel less oily and I think it has minimized my pores and prevented bad spots to some extent. This is a thick slimy, slightly exfoliating, face wash which takes a while to wash off. I'm not so keen on the fruity fragrance which seems more appropriate for products aimed at teenage girls (but maybe they are the target audience!).


InterDesign Small Ellis Knit Bin, Gray/Ivory
InterDesign Small Ellis Knit Bin, Gray/Ivory
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A useful box, 9 July 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a small useful box for toiletries, yarn, etc., made from knitted polypropylene. It arrived folded up and unfolds to make a freestanding if slightly misshapen box, which isn't as rigid or rectangular as it appears in the picture.


You Should Have Left
You Should Have Left
by Daniel Kehlmann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A novella of cosmic dread, 24 Jun. 2017
This review is from: You Should Have Left (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"You Should have Left" is narrated by a screenwriter staying in an isolated alpine house with his wife and young daughter. The novella consists of the notebook he keeps during his stay which records increasingly inexplicable events in the house they have rented, one which despite its modernity seems to contain something very ancient.

"You Should have Left" arrived this morning and I read it in one sitting, gripped throughout. Even though it is a hot summer's day I still feel thoroughly chilled.


Evening Primrose
Evening Primrose
by Kopano Matlwa
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vivid novel, 11 Jun. 2017
This review is from: Evening Primrose (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"Evening Primrose" (published in South Africa as "Period Pains") is narrated by Masechaba, a young doctor, struggling to find meaning or enjoyment in her job ('My car is a casket that daily carries me to my death'). Writing in her diary, Maschaba is brutally honest about the fact that she finds it difficult to care for (and sometimes about) her patients in a society riven with problems. This honesty extends to all areas of her life and I found Maschaba an intriguing and refreshing character. "Evening Primrose" is a short harrowing novel whose narrator creates a vivid world and leaves a lasting impression.


Blue: A Memoir - Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces
Blue: A Memoir - Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces
by John Sutherland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.89

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A police officer's memoir, 11 Jun. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I chose this book because I wanted to gain an insight into the life of a police officer and read how the situations they encounter on the job affect their outlook and beliefs. John Sutherland has decades of experience as a London police officer and he comes across as honest, thoughtful, and compasionate; however, I found his prose style quite frustrating. "Blue" consists of lots of short, often unconnected, passages told in the present tense and the tone veers between one suitable for simple anecdotes about the 'lads' to something more profound which often comes off as cliched or mawkish instead. Sutherland has a lot of interesting things to say, but I found myself wishing a better writer was saying them.


Honeywell HYF290E QuietSet Tower Fan with Remote Control, Black
Honeywell HYF290E QuietSet Tower Fan with Remote Control, Black

4.0 out of 5 stars A great fan for hot nights, 1 Jun. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When this fan arrived, it was a lot bigger than I expected, reminding me of the monolith from 2001. However the small base means that it can be accommodated in most places. The fan is easy to assemble (if you read the instructions!) and the controls are very easy to use. A remote control is provided and there is a holder built into the fan where it can be stored.

The controls allow you to choose the strength of the air flow, whether the fan is rotating or still, and whether you want the fan to automatically turn off after a set number of intervals. Most of the fan settings are quite noisy and I would not want to use them at night for fear of waking my neighbour in the adjoining room. However, the nighttime setting provides a pleasing amount of coolness and is quiet enough that you can fall asleep to it. This is a great fan to use at night, as the fan's height means you receive the cool air whether you are sitting up in bed or lying down and you can set the timer so that it turns off automatically. My only complaint is that, unlike with the other settings, you can't set the timer via the remote control.


essie Gel Couture Nail Polish, 160 Zip Me Up 13.5 ml
essie Gel Couture Nail Polish, 160 Zip Me Up 13.5 ml
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A strong long-lasting shade, 1 Jun. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Shade 160 (Zip Me Up) from essie is a bright, almost white, nail varnish with a pearlescent green hue. I wasn't sure if this shade would work, but I really like it and it goes with a lot of outfits. You need three coats to ensure a solid colour and even then, if you look closely, it isn't completely opaque. However, the three coats are long-lasting and the nail varnish was still going strong 4-5 days later. essie's quoted time of 12 days' wear refers to use with a topcoat which is bought separately. All in all I'm very happy with this nail varnish.


Boys in Zinc (Penguin Modern Classics)
Boys in Zinc (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Svetlana Alexievich
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Voices of the Soviet-Afghan war, 14 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The subject of "Boys in Zinc" is the Soviet-Afghan war which lasted from 1979 to 1989. The title refers to the zinc coffins in which dead Soviet solders were shipped home. Journalist Svetlana Alexievich interviewed various Soviet citizens affected by the war, including soldiers, mothers, party members, nurses, and civilian workers,and stitched these accounts into a lyrical polyphonic account (albeit one from which Afghan voices are absent).

Those who have read Alexievich's other works will be familiar with her technique and larger themes emerge from the heartbreaking, often anger-inducing accounts: the long shadow of the Second World War ('the Great Patriotic War'), the disconnect between the propaganda back home and the situation in Afghanistan, the incompetance, neglect, and criminality on the ground, and the long-term trauma experienced by the returning soldiers. As with "Chernobyl Prayer", "Boys in Zinc" both elucidates and damns the Soviet experiment.

In a work of this kind the reader is aware of the tension between the words of the participants and Alexievich's shaping and contextualizing of these words to create a work of art. These tensions are made explicit in the last section of this translation, which consists of an account of a trial in which Alexievich was sued by two of her interviewees (a mother and a soldier) for misrepresentation. The trial itself seems to have been motivated by political concerns and this section further expands on the book's themes. Alexievich herself writes:

"The books that I write are documents and also simultaneously my representation of the time. I collect details and feelings, not only from an individual human life, but out of the air of the time, its space and its voices. I don't invent things or make conjectures, I gather the book together out of reality itself. This document is what people tell me, and a part of it is also me, as an artist, with my own view and awareness of the world."

Alexievich won the 2015 Nobel Prize for literature for 'her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time'. This book is just such a monument.


Vernon Subutex 1: English edition (MacLehose Press Editions)
Vernon Subutex 1: English edition (MacLehose Press Editions)
by Virginie Despentes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping first instalment, 11 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I chose this book on a whim, not really knowing what to expect. Once I started reading I was immediately gripped and I finished it eager to read the next volume of the trilogy. Despentes's characters are men and women of the 1990s navigating 21st-century Paris; many of them are extremely unlikeable and you find yourself subjected to their uncensored distasteful thoughts, which sometimes makes for uncomfortable reading. Vernon Subutex is the man who connects the novel's different voices and the multiple viewpoints do interesting things to our perception of him. I would particularly recommend this book for its brio, its evocation of Paris, and its moving descriptions of the interactions between music, self-identity, and friendship.


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