Whilst his colleagues were beavering away trying to figure out how our eyes detect the edge of objects, or how grammar is represented in the brain, Richard Wiseman was busy examining something very different – the science of personality. You might have wondered why incompetent politicians win elections, what the secret ingredients of charisma are, how our personalities are shaped by when we are born, or why people miss the obvious signs of their partner’s infidelity.
On the surface, these investigations may appear diverse. However, they are all examples of a particular approach to understanding human behaviour – ‘quirkology’ if you like. It is an approach that involves wading through the backwaters of the human mind and exploring the places where mainstream scientists fear to tread. Using scientific methods to investigate offbeat topics that interest both the general public and the scientific community. Studying highly peculiar psychological phenomena that have important implications. It is about research that makes you laugh, and then makes you think.
This book details Richard’s adventures in quirkology, and pays homage to similar research carried out by the small band of dedicated academics who have kept the quirky flag flying over the past one hundred years
So, as Richard says, ‘Let the quirkology begin...’
Richard Wiseman was born in 1966 and began his working life as an award-winning professional magician, quickly becoming one of the youngest-ever members of The Magic Circle. Having obtained a first-class honours degree in psychology from University College London (1985–1988) and a doctorate from the University of Edinburgh (1988–1992), he was awarded the prestigious Perrott Warrick Fellowship from Trinity College, Cambridge; and now heads a 30-strong research unit based within the Department of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.
In 2002 he was appointed the country’s first Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology, and he is the most cited psychologist now working in Britain. Together, Richard’s last two books, QUIRKOLOGY and 59 SECONDS, have translated into thirty languages and have sold approximately 500,000 copies worldwide.