I have just finished reading Richard Wiseman’s wonderful book, Quirkology: How We Discover The Big Truths in Small Things. I highly recommend this book. It’s a fun read with lot’s of fascinating information.
Wiseman defines ‘quirkology’ as using “scientific methods to study the more curious aspects of everyday life” (p.3).
Here are just a few of the interesting quirks I discovered in this book:
- When it comes to detecting lies, you are better off listening to the person’s words than trying to read their body language or tone of voice (but there are specific things for which to listen).
- You can form interesting anagrams (rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase) out of the names President Clinton of the USA [Anagram= ‘to copulate he finds interns’] and US President Ronald Regan [Anagram= ‘repulsed and ignorant arse’].
- Low frequency sound waves that fall below the human hearing threshold can produce weird effects often associated with being in the presence of a ghost (e.g., sudden feelings of cold, tingling on the back of the neck, a feeling of being watched).
- People tip more when the sun is shining, and even when waiters tell them that the sun is shining.
- After controlling for several factors such as poverty, divorce, and gun ownership, researchers found that the more country music a radio station played, the higher the suicide rate among its listeners.
- People bought wine that was three times more expensive when classical music was playing in a wine cellar than when pop music was playing.
- Good looking men are given significantly lighter jail sentences than less attractive men.
- Most American presidents have been above the national average height.
- Personal ads with a balance of 70% talking about yourself and 30% talking about what you want in the other person attract the most responses.
- The worst offenders of express checkout lines (more items than allowed) are women who drive vans.
While a lot of the specifics in the book are fascinating, it’s what these quirky facts illuminate about human nature that is the real benefit of this book.
So, pick up a copy. It’s a fun way to learn cool stuff. And you can always use it to spark conversation at your next dinner party.