There are few things in existence more fascinating than the human mind. In fact, apart from the depths of space, it is probably one of the least understood objects in the universe. That is not to say, however, that we haven’t learned a lot about it. We know enough that psychologists can even make predictions about your behavior based on certain “rules” that more or less hold true. So, although you may be one of the those counter cultural break-the-mold types we are still willing to bet that the following 25 things psychology tells you about yourself would make for a pretty good biography.
Although you prefer reading text that is separated into relatively narrow columns, you read much faster if the text takes up the width of the page. Interestingly enough, however, you believe that you are actually able to read through the column layout faster but this is only because you prefer it visually.
You may have heard about the 7 plus or minus two rule. Psychology tells us that you can only store between 5 and 9 chunks of information in your short term memory at a time. A chunk, however, can consists of several pieces of related data. Consider your phone number. It has a country code, area code, and then one or two more sets of numbers. Although this can be over 14 numbers long, it is usually grouped into several “chunks” and therefore falls well into our short memory range.
If you ask someone to draw a glass, for the most part they will draw it from the angle demonstrated to the left. But what is to stop them from simply drawing a circle? This would be a valid overhead view. The reason is that our brains, when left to their own devices, imagine objects in this format.
Although you like to think that all of your decisions are carefully controlled and thought out, research tells us that most of our everyday decisions are actually subconscious. There is a reason for this though. Every second our brains are bombarded with over 11 millions individual pieces of data and because there is no way we can consciously sift through all of it our subconscious mind, following certain “rules of thumb”, helps us out.
Because we experience our memories as mini “movies” that play in our heads we tend think that our memories are stored away as complete little files much the same as a video on your computer’s hard drive. This, however, is not the case. Every time you think back to your third grade classroom that memory is reconstructed by your mind. This leads to the obvious conclusion that no two recollections are ever the same. In fact, our memories change over time and can influence one another.
We know, you are a professional multi-tasker. Unfortunately, if you really believe that, you are also overly self confident, because the truth of the matter is that humans cannot multi-task. At least not in the sense of the term that we often use. While you can certainly walk around while talking to your friend, your brain can only focus on one higher level function at a time, which means you cannot be thinking about two things at once.
Although they are used in numerous national flags, the colors red and blue are actually very hard on your eyes whenever they are directly adjacent. This is due to an effect known as Chromostereopsis, which causes certain colors to “pop out” and others to recede. While it is strongest in red and blue it affects other combinations as well, notably red and green.
In a study done outside of a supermarket not too long ago researchers set up a tasting table with 6 varieties of jam. They then alternated this table with a much larger selection of 24 jams. What they found was that although more people stopped for a taste at the 24 jam table, almost 6 times as many made a purchase at the 6 jam table. This can be attributed to the fact that although we think we want more, our brains can only handle so much input at a time (#24).
Evidently the ability to delay fulfilling your desire for immediate gratification as a kid leads to more success in school, better grades, and a greater ability to deal with stress and frustration. Fortunately for those of you how lack in this regard, researchers are developing methods to teach people ways of distracting themselves while they wait.
Are you a day dreamer? According to scientists we all are, at least 30% of the time. Some of us though, wander a bit more than others. That’s not always a bad thing though, as researchers have pointed out that people with a high predisposition to mind wandering are generally more creative and better at solving problems.
At least that’s what you think. Known as the “third person effect” this psychological phenomenon tells us that while we acknowledge the effect of advertising and other influences upon our peers, we deny them upon ourselves. The effect is compounded when the source of influence is something we don’t care about (an ad for a TV when you already bought one). In reality though, many advertisments subconsciously affect your mood, attitude, and desires.
Aioccrdng to a rcseaerh sudty at Cmiadrbge Usvteriiny, it deosn’t mtetar in waht oredr the ltertes in a wrod are. The olny iomnrtapt thnig is taht the fisrt and lsat leettr be in the rhgit pcale.The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wthiuot prelobm. Tihs is busacee the huamn mnid deos not raed erevy letetr by iletsf, but the wrod as a wlohe. Your brain is constantly processing the information it receives from your senses and the way you end up percieving this information (as words) is usually vastly different from how you sense it (as scrambled letters).
If you have read our article on 25 things you didn’t know about sleep, then you are probably already a professional in this field, but for the rest of you – its true, your brain is just as active during sleep as it is while you are awake. So what’s going on during sleep then if your brain isn’t just shutting down? Well, scientists hypothesise that during the night your brain is consolidating information and making new associations.
Labeled “group think” by psychologists this effect essentially tells us that more heads does not necessarily mean more smarts as large groups of people tend to make decisions based on hyperemotionalism.
Not only are groups poor at making decisions, they are also easily swayed by dominant self serving personalities who manage to play off of the group’s “spirit”. In spite of this, however, studies still tell us that two heads are usually better than one.