Psychologist Richard Wiseman - interview

Psychologist Richard Wiseman - interview

Photo: Antje M. Pohsegger

The Edinburgh International Science Festival guest enjoys Meatloaf, sushi and Jet from Gladiators

First record you ever bought
Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell.

Last extravagant purchase you made
A lovely leather suitcase from Lilies & Dreams in Stockbridge. I have a thing for luggage.

First film you saw that really moved
Bambi. Loved that it looked so wonderful, yet was dark and unpredictable.

Last lie you told
The previous answer.

First movie you ever went on a date
Scorsese’s After Hours. Ironically, we went to an afternoon showing.

Last time you cried
With laughter, last month, listening to an old Derek and Clive recording.

First thing you do when you’ve got time off work
Play Temple Run on my iPad. 3,256,785. I thank you.

Last great meal you cooked
I don’t cook, so it would have been fish fingers in pitta bread with just a hint of carbon.

First crush
Jet from Gladiators.

Last book you read
Steve Martin’s Born Standing Up. Great account of his rise to stardom and subsequent disillusionment with comedy industry.

First great piece of advice you were given
Never criticise a person. It is one of the rules in Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People. I read that book when I was 8 and still think it is one of the best psychology books out there.

Last time you were star struck
I saw Jackie Mason live a few weeks ago. He is in his 70s and still very charismatic.

First thing you’d do if you ran the country
Cancel the Edinburgh tram project, put the roads back and hope everyone would forget it ever happened.

Last meal on earth – what would it be
Easy. Sushi. Lots of it. Love the stuff.

First song you’ll sing at karaoke
I am a terrible singer, but a big fan of accuracy, so would probably go with the Carpenter’s ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’.

Last time you exploited your position to get something
How very dare you.

First time you realised you were famous
When someone came up to me and told me how much they loved my book Change Your Life in 7 Days. Unfortunately, that was written by Paul McKenna.

Last time someone criticised your work
Probably a few seconds ago on the web somewhere.

First three words your friends would use to describe you
Bright, funny, modest.

Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it
A Caramac bar. I am sure they were yummy when I was a kid.

First concert you ever attended
Hmmm … Not been to many but I saw Queen at the Milton Keynes Bowl in my teens. They arrived in a helicopter.

Last time you bought someone flowers
A few months ago for Mother’s day. Had I waited 24 hours I could have saved £3.

First object you’d save from your burning home
My house insurance policy. Failing that, my laptop.

Last funny thing you saw online
I just saw a video of a dog dreaming. At the end of the video the dog falls off a settee. That was quite funny.

First job
Stacking the toilet roll isle at Sainsbury’s in Luton.

Last person you fantasized about
Jet from Gladiators.

First word you spoke

Last crime you committed
How very dare you. I had a train ticket to Waverley but went through to Haymarket. I know, mad.

First song at your (potential) wedding
‘Another One Bites the Dust’.

Last song at your funeral
‘Another One Bites the Dust’.

First person you’d thank in an award acceptance speech
Mr Ben (long story).

Last thing you recommended to someone
Illegal Jacks on Lothian Road. Ace burritos.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning
I wonder who has emailed me during the night.

Last thing you think of before you go to sleep
I wonder who will email me during the night.

Richard Wiseman’s Beginners Guide To … lecture series takes place at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Wed 11-Fri 13 Apr.

Derek And Clive - This Bloke Came Up to me

carpenters -We've Only Just Begun

Bulldog wakes up from nap; falls off the couch

Derren Brown: The Conversation

Psychological illusionist Derren Brown is quizzed by Richard Wiseman on the tricks of his trade, taking in his thoughts on mind control, hypnosis, the paranormal and more. Part of Edinburgh International Science Festival.


Join psychologist Richard Wiseman and the EISF's director Simon Gage as they explore it's really possible to put mind over matter and walk barefoot over hot coals. Ages 18+. Part of Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Humour Me: The Science of Laughter

Two Robins – stand-up comedian Ince and evolutionary anthropologist Dunbar – explore the science of laughter, with input from psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman. Ages 18+. Part of Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Richard Wiseman's Beginners' Guide to … Climate Change

An accessible intro the main issues surrounding our planet's greatest challenge. Part of Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Richard Wiseman's Beginners' Guide to … Evolution

An entertaining conversation on how we all came to be here, with input from evolutionary anthropologist Robin Dunbar. Part of Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Richard Wiseman's Beginners' Guide to … Physics

Richard Wiseman tackles a notoriously difficult branch of science in an accessible and engaging manner. Part of Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Sweet Dreams

Professor Richard Wiseman and Dr Caroline Watt present the results of a mass experiment on the science of dreams. Ages 18+. Part of Edinburgh International Science Festival.

The Optimism Bias

Neuroscientist Tali Sharot discusses the our tendency towards the positive in predictions for the future, and why it might be an evolutionary feature. Part of Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Festival of the Spoken Nerd: You Can’t Polish a Nerd

Steve Mould, Helen Arney and Matt Parker present their latest show, filled with nerdy goodness.

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