Psychology isn't always about making a dog drool or dreaming on a couch. Some psychologists are more concerned with daily trifles such as the funniest joke on earth or the best dating strategy.

Read some of these quirky studies and maybe, just maybe, you will finally know how to charm your date!


"Don't hide, I am a psychologist, and I just want to tell you a joke."                 * image by Doriano Solinas


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◎ 電子報編輯啟事~025期英語宅急便勘誤






English Grammar Secrets

為什麼英語的文法那麼複雜啊? 什麼過去式、現在式、未來式的一堆時態,而且動詞的形態,還得跟這些亂七八糟的時態變來變去。又不是在看孫悟空七十二變,怎麼那麼複雜啊! 應該有一些小撇步可以來搞定這些問題吧? 有! 當然有啊! 來看看吧。


English Freeway

ESL notes…The English Learner Movie Guide

看英語發音的電影的時候, 如果聽到讓你感動落淚, 或是讓你捧腹大笑的台詞時, 會不會想知道這些台詞的英文原文是什麼呢? 對英語學習而言, 看英語發音的影片真的是一個寓教於樂的好活動, 在影片裡頭常可以學到許多, 現在在英語系國家必較通俗的口語表達方式. 這次介紹的網站, 它裡頭所提供的內容, 絕對比坊間口語練習教科書來的新鮮喔...... 熱騰騰的上菜啦!



Putting It Together: A Conversation Management Text





果-爾-咖-肋-鋸?啥?聽起來還真夠怪咖的。最近社會心理學家Richard Wiseman出了一本新書,介紹各種奇奇怪怪的心理學實驗,什麼百人跑台快速約會,交友廣告成功密技。既然暑假還那麼漫長,大家看完宅急便兩位仁兄落落長的討論後,也找下面連結的有趣文章來看看吧~

Schnell: Hello, Rover! Do you remember the study you told me last time, about the 10% increase in people’s walking speed?

Rover: Sure, what’s up?

Schnell: I found it very interesting and went on searching for related news reports. Actually, it’s from a book called Quirkology.

Rover: Quirkology? That sounds quirky

Schnell: Exactly. Quirkology is the discipline that uses scientific methods to study quirky human behavior, or quirky methods to probe weighty issues of human nature.

Rover: Any examples for the quirky studies?

Schnell: What about “searching for the funniest joke in the world”?

Rover:  How are you supposed to “scientifically” search for the funninest jokes?

Schnell: Well, the scientists conducting the experiment were pretty methodic. They set up websites, designed questionnaires, and analyzed people’s responses to different jokes.

Rover: And what may that funniest joke be?

Schnell: Something like “There were two cows in a field. One said: ‘Moo.’ The other one said: ‘I was going to say that.’”

Rover: (Burst out laughing.) Oh my god, that was a good one. Are all the quirky studies this funny?

Schnell: Mostly, like this one of “gauging public opinion without conducting a formal
poll.” In this experiment, researchers would “accidentally” drop some stamped and addressed envelopes all around the town. All envelopes bear identical addresses apart from the recipients. . . .

Rover: I don’t get it. Do you mean that curious passerbys would open those letters and fill out some questionnaires inside? That’s not even quirky, that’s just a stupid way to hand out questionnaires.

Schnell: You totally missed the point. Can you at least hear me out? The trick is that the recipients would have obvious ideological standings. For example, if the researchers are interested in the public opinions concerning gay marriage, the envelopes may be directed to fictitious organizations with names like “Gay Marriage Advocators” or “NoGayMarriage Work Force. . . .”

Rover:  . . . . and the researchers would secretly observe people’s face when they see those different recepients! Ha, that must be hilarious.

Schnell: You have evidently watched too many hidden-camera practical jokes on TV. Please stop interrupting me with your unscientific surmises. The scientists predict that those who pick up the envelopes would help mailing it if they sympathize with the recipients’ cause. So the researchers can ascertain the public attitude simply by counting the numbers of mails for different recipients that have been mailed back to the researchers.

Rover:Right. (Drily) Ha. Ha. That’s not funny at all.

Schnell: That’s because I haven’t told you that the latest researcher using this envelope-dropping method was threatened with arrest for “littering.”

Rover: Ha, much better now. But these studies are just useless and meaningless. Maybe there are some other quirky findings that are more applicable to our daily lives?

Schnell: Then you’ll definitely like this one: “What’s the best way to impress a member of the opposite sex?”

Rover: Wow, I love this one. Tell me more about it.

Schnell: I know you need it. You’ve been without a girl friend for 30 years, which means all your life, right?

Rover: Objection! I had a girl friend when I was in preschool.

Schnell: That’s not even a “girl,” OK?

Rover: OK… This digression has gone too far. Now, just tell me the results of the study. I am going on a blind date tonight and I’d like to try if it works.

Schnell: The secret of a successful conversation is to encourage your partner to talk about herself in a quirky, fun way. You may ask her questions like “If you were a pizza topping, what would you be?” or “If you were the girl friend of a super hero, who would you want your boy friend to be, Superman, Batman, Spiderman, or the Silver Surfer?”

Rover: I got it. And any suggestions for what I shouldn’t say?

Schnell: The least successful line to open a conversation was “I have a PhD in computing.”

Rover: But I do have a PhD in computing. Can’t I introduce myself as who I am?

Schnell: …… Yes, you can. Good luck with your next thirty lonely years!



Quirkology (n) 怪奇心理學
advocator (n) 擁護者;提倡者
quirky (adj) 怪異, 古怪
hilarious (adj)  暴笑
discipline (n) 學科
practical joke (n) 整人玩笑
probe (v) 探測;查究
surmise (n) 猜測
questionnaire (n) 問卷
ascertain (v) 查明;確定
gauge (v) 估計;判斷
litter (v) 亂丟垃圾
poll (v) 民意測驗
applicable (adj) 應用的
passerby (n) 路人
digression (n) 岔題
standing (n) 立場
pizza topping (n) 比薩料
fictitious (adj) 虛構的



Quirkology :The Official Website of Quirkology

New Scientists :A Quirky Look At Our Quirky Species
                  (With downloadable audio file of Dr. Wiseman talking about Quirkology)

Guardian :The Truth About Lying and Laughing

The Times :Formula for a Perfect Match




錯誤出現在對話的中段,Schnell說:You did. You started by saying that people are walking 10% faster then they did ten years a ago.





English Freeway


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