Unfortunately, our perception of a future event is usually far overblown and many times the anticipation leading up to an event is more exciting than the event itself.
We all have them, some good and some bad, but just remember that next time New Years rolls around if you can make it to day 67 with your resolutions then your probably in the clear.
In one interesting study scientists found that students scored higher on standardized tests when there were less people in the room. Evidently when there are less people competing you are more motivated to perform because there is a greater chance of coming out on top.
Every time you access or store information in your brain electrical impulses fire between neurons, strengthening old connections and forging new ones. It’s the result of these new circuits forming that causes your brain to physically change and grow.
You might think that you are really good at paying attention in class, but the truth is that your attention span maxes out at around 10 minutes, even if it’s something that interests you. After that you typically revert to #16.
Known as flashbulb memories, whenever something traumatic happens in your life your brain takes an emotionally charged “photo”. For example, anyone old enough to remember 9/11 or the Challenger disaster could probably describe in vivid detail where they were and what they were doing when the news broke. The only problem is that a lot of those vivid details would be completely wrong and several studies have shown that the strong emotions associated with the memory often skew your recollection.
Of course, we know you don’t always do this, but people generally favor the first item in a list regardless of whether it’s a menu or a ballot. In fact, it has been shown that having your name listed in the middle of a ballot decreases your chances of winning by 2.5%
You are terrible at predicting the future. To be more precise, you are terrible at estimating your reaction to events in the future, both positive and negative. It has been shown that people tend to believe positive events like landing the perfect job or getting married will make them much happier than they really will and the same goes for the negative events. The truth of the matter is, however, that your happiness levels will generally stay about the same and they always revert to a steady norm.
While you may be social media fiend who has 4,000 friends on Facebook, the hard truth is that you don’t really have that many friends, at least not close friends. Psychologists and anthropologists will tell you that the maximum number of close ties a human can have hovers somewhere between 50 and 150.
Think back to the last time you got cut off in traffic. Did you say to yourself, “Man, what an idiot”, or did you think,”Gee, she probably had a bad day.” Chances are that you went with the former. In psychology circles this is known as the fundamental attribution error and it essentially states that while we blame the behavior of others on their internal attributes, we blame our own on the external (I had no choice, I had to cut her off to avoid a collision). Sadly, even if you are aware of our predisposition towards making unfair judgements, it is notoriously hard to stop doing, so you will most likely continue making this fundamental error.