Quirkology | Richard Wiseman

Summary of: Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things
By: Richard Wiseman


Embark on a journey through the fascinating world of ‘Quirkology’ as we explore the science behind astrology, superstitions, lying, and our irrational behaviors. In Richard Wiseman’s book, ‘Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things’, you’ll discover why astrology fails to predict events and how our belief in it affects our behavior. We’ll shatter commonly held superstitions and reveal the science behind them. Additionally, we’ll examine the prevalence of lying in everyday life and expose the challenges in detecting deception. Lastly, we’ll delve into the irrationality of our decision-making and how our behavior is influenced by our names.

Astrology: A Pseudo Science

Astrology is not a reliable tool for predicting the future, as demonstrated by an experiment where an astrologer performed worse in predicting the stock market compared to a four-year-old girl who invested at random. Furthermore, the belief that astrology can describe one’s personality is also unsupported, as personality scores were influenced by what participants believed their astrological signs meant. Ultimately, astrology is a pseudoscience that lacks scientific evidence.

Debunking Superstitions

Despite being long-proven false, various superstitions still remain a part of our beliefs. From black cats causing bad luck to full moons leading to more hospital admissions, we often let these myths control our actions. However, scientific research has time and again shown that they hold no truth. The article recounts various tests, including one conducted by a high school student to prove that black cats have no effect on luck. Similarly, researchers found no evidence to suggest that full moons lead to more hospital admissions. This begs the question – why do such myths persist despite contradicting evidence? In this thought-provoking article, readers can explore the complex relationship humans have with the truth.

Talented Liars

We all lie much more than we think. Adults tell at least two notable lies daily. Even if we mislead others all the time, most people still find it hard to detect lies. We are talentless at uncovering deceit, except for some clear signs, such as a liar’s vagueness and inconsistency. Although high self-monitors tend to be better liars, their body language can still give away the truth. Despite our dishonest nature, irrational behavior is common.

The Science of Irrational Behavior

The human brain is wired to make decisions based on context, often leading to irrational behavior. For instance, people prioritize a discount on a low-cost item over a high-cost item, even when the savings are equal. Similarly, a person’s name can impact their social standing and success, as teachers and peers often favor those with more common names. However, those who can break free from these irrational tendencies may have a greater chance of achieving fame. Understanding the science behind this behavior can help individuals overcome their irrational tendencies and make better decisions.

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