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Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things.



QUIRKOLOGY: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things RICHARD WISEMAN Richard Wiseman is Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. Wiseman started his professional life as a magician, before graduating in Psychology from University College London and obtaining a Ph.D.  

A student of human behavior for decades, Wiseman has discovered interesting facts about lying, decision making, and humor. Among the behaviors he has investigated in small but ingenious experiments is many people's belief that birth date affects personality. Despite the inaccuracy in·ac·cu·ra·cy  
n. pl. in·ac·cu·ra·cies
1. The quality or condition of being inaccurate.

2. An instance of being inaccurate; an error.
 of horoscopes, many people swear that their astrologsigns fairly accurately describe their lives. This is so, the author explains, because horoscope horoscope: see astrology.
horoscope

Astrological chart showing the positions of the sun, moon, and planets in relation to the signs of the zodiac at a specific time.
 writers make their predictions believable by keeping them general and flattering. Wiseman also examines people's relatively poor ability to recognize a lie, the superstitious su·per·sti·tious  
adj.
1. Inclined to believe in superstition.

2. Of, characterized by, or proceeding from superstition.



su
 worry surrounding the number 13, and the fact that good-looking criminals often get off with lighter prison sentences than their less attractive counterparts do. In his quest to unlock the secrets of what makes a joke funny, Wiseman set up a Web site asking for joke submissions and ratings--and made some interesting and disturbing findings about the darker side of humor. He explains these and other strange aspects of human behavior, revealing just how quirky quirk  
n.
1. A peculiarity of behavior; an idiosyncrasy: "Every man had his own quirks and twists" Harriet Beecher Stowe.

2.
 the human mind is. Basic, 2007, 323 p., hardcover, $26.00.

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Title Annotation:Books: A selection of new and notable books of scientific interest
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 20, 2007
Words:186
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