Psy-Q: You know your IQ - now test your psychological intelligence by Ben Ambridge
|Psy-Q: You know your IQ - now test your psychological intelligence by Ben Ambridge|
|Category: Popular Science|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: An absorbing and entertaining piece of 'Pop Science' full of interactive features that will delight and enlighten the reader,|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: August 2014|
|Publisher: Profile Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Psy-Q is a fun and interactive slice of 'Pop-Science' which delves into various psychology topics, with the aim of entertaining and enlightening the reader and debunking a few myths along the way. Most of the chapters are only a couple of pages long and include quizzes, personality profiles, experiments, optical illusions and the odd cheesy joke thrown in for good measure. The result is a readable, accessible and un-putdownable book that I managed to devour in an entire afternoon.
Some of the exercises in the book feature 'old chestnuts' that the reader is likely familiar with already. Most of us have seen the optical illusion with the parallel lines, flipped a Necker cube or heard the riddle about the surgeon who refuses to operate on their son. However, a good chunk of the book is devoted to material entirely new to me, although perhaps familiar to students of psychology.
The results of some of the exercises genuinely surprised me. For example, there is a page where the reader is invited to scan 50 black and white images before turning the page and trying to recall some of the images seen. I was quite surprised to see what the human memory is capable of. I also enjoyed reading the section about the 'steal or split' dilemma, which led to me watching far too many Golden Balls clips on Youtube afterward.
The beauty of the book is that its content just has to be shared. You will find yourself roping in all manner of friends and family to take part in the interactive exercises in this book. I got my young daughter to take part in the Raven IQ test, which is a non-verbal measure of intelligence, and was rather upset when she beat my score by two points.
I also liked the way that the book tackles some popular myths and ideas prevalent in society and uses real data to show the truth behind such myths. It was interesting to see the real differences between men and women. Are women better at multitasking than men? The data shows a different story than the one we have been led to believe.
The book would be almost perfect if not for the poor resolution of the images. Many of the exercises rely on the reader analysing visual content, but unfortunately, some pictures were printed so poorly that the point of the exercise was lost. The worst example of this was a section featuring a 'hidden gorilla'. The idea was that the reader would be so busy with the assigned task that they would miss the picture of the gorilla in the corner of the image. However, due to a problem with the contrast of the image, the gorilla was not visible anyway, as the whole picture was too dark to allow proper definition. In the IQ test mentioned above, the images, which featured symbols from playing cards, were rendered extremely small and were hard to make out (That is my excuse for losing to my daughter anyway!). It was also clear that many of the images in the facial recognition and inkblot sections were originally printed in colour, so the black and white rendering made it much harder to analyse them. The book would have benefitted greatly from a colour section in the centre.
I really enjoyed this book and it would make a perfect gift for anyone who is interested on the workings of the human mind. It was a fascinating read and I hope that I have come away understanding my own brain a little better too.
Impulse: Why We Do What We Do Without Knowing Why We Do It by Dr David Lewis is written in a similar style to Psy-Q and provides plenty of insight into why we behave the way we do.
You can read more book reviews or buy Psy-Q: You know your IQ - now test your psychological intelligence by Ben Ambridge at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Psy-Q: You know your IQ - now test your psychological intelligence by Ben Ambridge at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.