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20 Important Psychology Experiments, 13 Unexplained Phenomena and a Whole Bunch of Paradoxes

I like philosophy, psychology and, well, just science in general. It’s true, and if that makes me a geek, then so be it (but surely it’s loving xkcd that makes me a geek, right?).

I’ve been saving a few lists that I’ve come across in my recent online travels to share with you all, and today is your lucky day… I hereby present to you 4 lists that make me wish ‘science’ was a gorgeous woman so that I could marry her and have lots of sex interesting conversations with her.

10 Brilliant Social Psychology Studies: Why We Do Dumb or Irrational Things (PsyBlog)

None of these studies are new – in fact, the most recent of these ten selected social psychology experiments was conducted in 1977. However, all of them are still relevant and profoundly important today.

Highlights of the list include: arguably the most well-known psychology experiment of all time (Zimbardo’s Stanford prison experiment); a study where participants delivered what they believed to be potentially lethal electric shocks to innocent people (Milgram’s obedience study); and a study inspired by the murder of Kitty Genovese (Darley and Latane’s research into bystander apathy).

10 Practical Uses for Psychological Research in Everyday Life (PsyBlog)

In this list 10 more psychology experiments are dissected, but this time they’re not profoundly important to society as a whole – instead they may be important to each and every one of us separately.

Why not use this information to win at poker by detecting lies, lower your cholesterol level or bring harmony to your relationship? Alternatively, make a group of people believe your lies are representative of the group whilst simultaneously becoming instantly more attractive simply by smiling in a certain way and repeating yourself!

13 Things That Do Not Make Sense (New Scientist)

For those interested in physics and astronomy this is a great find: it tackles issues like the ‘horizon problem’ and the existence of dark matter; it discusses possibilities for the ‘Kuiper cliff’ (‘planet X’); and it even delves – not once, but twice – into the possibilities of extraterrestrial life (the ‘Wow signal’ and Viking’s ‘positive’ find of Methane on Mars).

For those of you not ‘into’ the black magic of physics/astronomy it’s still worth a read for when they announce recent findings of research into the placebo effect – fascinating!

List of Paradoxes (Wikipedia)

I came across this list quite by chance, but I’m glad I did. Ever since I got bought The Magical Maze (by Ian Stewart) as a child I’ve been fascinated by so-called mathematical ‘paradoxes’. Favourites of mine include the Monty Hall problem, the birthday paradox and the inspection paradox (why you’ll always wait a long time for a bus). Of course, these aren’t really paradoxes as such and are more seemingly paradoxical probability theories.

Of course classical ‘thought’ paradoxes are here too: both the well-known and the not so well-known ones. Represented here are philosophical (predestination paradox), economic (diamond-water paradox), logical (drinker paradox), and even physical (Schrödinger’s cat) paradoxes – an interesting read!


  1. Andrew Smith
    Posted December 21, 2007 at 01:30 | Permalink

    Have you ever noticed that when you learn something new you start noticing it everywhere?

    I followed your link to the “List of Paradoxes” and spent a morning of work reading through them. I particularly liked the “Unexpected hanging paradox”.

    When I get home my flat mate gives Xmas present: A book called “Can a Robot be Human”. It’s by a prof. of philosophy in the open university and deals with, amongst other things, paradoxes. Lo an behold chapter 11 covers the hanging paradox.

    Excellent Post.

  2. Posted December 21, 2007 at 12:12 | Permalink

    I loved the list of paradoxes… kept me a amused for a long time.

    Recently the slow patches I’ve experience in work have been taken up by Wikipedia’s “Lists Portal”. There are some really interesting ones there – and a whole bunch of rubbish ones too, obviously!

    Thanks for the comment, Andy.