Aggregating Skeptical Thought

Quirkology, A Review

I just finished reading Richard Wiseman’s book Quirkology. Richard Wiseman is an experimental psychologist who conducts research into areas that you wouldn’t normally think psychologists necessarily spend their time. Among the many topics that the author covers in the book are

  • What is the world’s funniest joke.
  • In what month are the luckiest people born.
  • How can you tell a fake smile from a real smile.
  • What simple little tricks can waiters/waitresses do to increase their tips.
  • Why the letter K really is the funniest letter.
  • How do ultra-low frequencies contribute to religious experience (my personal favorite)

 One of the quick little experiments was to have you trace the letter Q on your forehead. Depending on which way you “crossed” the Q indicated whether you were a good or bad liar. Now I know this experiment shows an interesting correlation but it’s not 100%. I happen to be an excellent liar however my Q indicated that I was not.

I have read a number of other reviews online and perhaps the biggest criticism is that the book is a bit shallow. Many of the topics in the book never go into any real depth but that’s OK with me. Personally I’ve taken psychology classes, snooze-o-rama. I don’t think I would have nearly enjoyed the book so much if it had gone into detail.

I highly recommend the book and you can even get a little taste of the kinds of research being performed and even join in the research right now if you go to

Filed under: Reviews, Skeptic,

Is It Real?

If you get a chance to check out National Geographic’s Is It Real? program you should. It’s a great example of skeptical investigation. It is not like those crappy History channel-token skepticism UFO specials. This is a show that sets up the paranormal claims and then gives skeptics a decent platform for explaining not only their position but how they come to their positions.

They frequently have James Randi as a guest and the last one I saw involving hauntings featured Richard Wiseman.

Filed under: Psychics, Skeptic, , , , ,


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