Strange and surprising psychological facts

How well do you know your own mind? More often than not, what goes on up there—despite our uniqueness as individuals—falls into patterns that are more common than you think. Click through to learn about the mind-blowing tricks and twists inside your own head.


You only remember remembering

When you recall an early memory, you might think your mind is reaching that far back in time, when in actuality you’re only remembering the last time you remembered that moment.You never actually remember a moment. Rather, every time you re-remember something, it changes a little bit more, and over time you won’t be able to tell what happened and what you added.


The collective canonical perspective

Psychologists in the 1980s discovered that we unconsciously remember almost all objects from the canonical perspective, meaning from the side and slightly above. Don’t believe it? Try drawing a cup. It’s more than likely you’re going to draw it from the side, but just high enough to see inside the top rim.


Rejection hurts like a punch

Being socially rejected can feel excruciating, and it turns out that, to your brain, being blown off is on par with being punched in the face. Our brains actually process emotional and physical pain the same way, releasing the same chemicals and activating the same areas.

Foreign language logic

Would you hit the grammar books if you were told you could think more rationally and make better decisions when using a second language? Our reasoning skills are divided between the systematic, rational side and the subconscious, emotional side. Our first language accesses the latter while second languages access the former.

Using an unnatural language basically forces you to think harder and more critically about whatever it is you’re discussing.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Have you ever noticed that intelligent people rarely boast about being smart, whereas less intelligent people overestimate themselves (i.e. the story of the king’s invisible clothes)

This theory proves the old adage “ignorance is bliss,” as people who aren’t aware of how much knowledge they’re missing out on will naturally think more highly of themselves. Think back to your own early art!

Music changes your perception

While it’s easy to acknowledge that music can lift or lower your mood, the type of music you listen to actually has a much more significant impact on how you process information. The reason behind this is called perceptual expectation: when you hear something in your ears, your brain will expect to see something similar through your eyes. For example, in a 2001 study, participants who were listening to sad music struggled to identify happy faces, and vice versa.


Singing reduces anxiety

Singing out loud is proven to reduce anxiety and depression, even if you’re the worst singer in the world! The action releases endorphins and oxytocin, both of which relieve stress, improve your mood, and make you feel comfortable while keeping your heart rate and cortisol levels at bay.


Negativity could be in your genes

What if your grumpiness wasn’t a choice but rather an expression of your genetic code? A 2013 study found that some people are genetically predisposed to negative thoughts, meaning they automatically react with stronger, negative emotions.

Anxiety is evolving

A study 15 years ago found that the average high school student was as anxious as the average psychiatric patient in the ’50s. Similarly, mental health issues are more common now than they were 15 years ago. Issues like anxiety and mood disorders are increasing as humanity becomes more stressed and scared, which means it’s increasingly more important to take care of your mental health, even more than your parents did.

Sarcasm makes you smart

Being sarcastic can actually improve the health of your brain! While it can be quite insulting, it’s actually one of the most common signs of intelligence. Sarcasm requires you to instantly understand tone, meaning, and perspective, then spin it to make it funny. That’s why sarcastic people are quick-witted, creative, and good at understanding abstract concepts. Sarcastic people may be unlikable for it, but they excel at thinking outside the box, which is hopefully how they’ll find new friends.


The power of sunlight

Feeling down after you’ve been inside all day is not (always) because you don’t like your job! The lack of sunlight can seriously disrupt your mood and promote things like depression. Sunlight can actually prevent mood disorders like depression, as the vitamin D acts as a mood stabilizer and releases pleasure hormones in your brain. Treat yourself like you would any healthy houseplant and make sure you give yourself sun. All you need is 10 minutes to brighten up your world.


Dopamine addiction

While many people attribute ceaselessly staring at your phone to the pleasure effects of dopamine, which are triggered by social media and texting, pleasure is actually not the culprit here. Besides pleasure, dopamine also controls desire. It tells you when you want something and compels you to get it, hence the addiction. The longer you let it go on, the harder it is to break!




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