There are many curiosities about how our brains and psyches work that most people do not yet know and would surely be surprised.
The mechanisms that regulate our cognition are complex and lead to many differences between individuals.
Psychological curiosities you probably didn’t know
Here you can find a number of amazing psychological curiosities.
1. Every time we sleep, we dream
It is true that we are not always able to remember the dreams we have had, but several scientific researches have revealed that brain activity during sleep generates that we dream of achieving the dream. REM phase during the break.
Studies show that we don’t remember 90% of our dream content and that even if we remembered it, half of that content would be forgotten within five minutes of waking up, as the brain picks up new stimuli and tends to get rid of that information. If you want to remember your dreams more and better, it helps a lot to write down all your dreams in as much detail as possible in a notebook that you have on your bedside table every day when you wake up.
- If you want to know more about the dream world: “10 curiosities about dreams revealed by science”
2. How much does the brain weigh?
Men’s brains are slightly heavier than women’s. The average figure in men is 1400 grams, while the female brain weighs 1250 grams.
This does not mean that men have greater intelligence than women, as we saw in the article “Are women or men smarter?” While it is true that, a long time ago, the first scientists to measure the weight of brains came to the false conclusion that man must have great intellectual gifts. The difference in size is due to a principle of proportionalityAnd while a man is generally taller and heavier than a woman, the size of the brain adapts to these body proportions, so the bigger the body, the bigger the brain.
3. We are programmed to flee from danger
When we are faced with extreme situations, anxiety, fear or danger, our body activates certain innate mechanisms that allow us to flee to escape danger. In other words, we are designed to ensure our survival, and therefore that of the human species.
In these extreme situations where we are in imminent danger, the adrenal glands are radically activated and generate adrenaline, A hormone that it increases heart rate and constricts blood vessels, Prepare the body for high intensity physical exertion. It is for this reason that we are able to take almost superhuman measures when we are in a state of panic, for example the case of mothers who have managed to lift cars or very heavy objects to rescue a child caught. trapped.
4. We grow up while we sleep
When we sleep, our brain secretes most of the the hormone responsible for muscle growth and bones. For this reason, it is absolutely essential that children get enough rest and sleep.
5. The “phantom member”
Many similar cases have been reported: a person has an amputated limb, then he starts to feel that this member is still in place. In fact, many cases reveal pain in the amputated limbs. This phenomenon is known as “phantom limb syndromeWe detail it in the article “The Phantom Member: Mirror Box Therapy”.
The reason this happens has its origin in the brain. Apparently, the area of the brain responsible for regulating limb mobility and touch remains active, and in the absence of real nerve stimuli, it tends to create them.
6. Some people are unable to recognize faces
These cases of people who cannot recognize faces are caused by a disorder called prosopagnosia (from the Greek prosopon, meaning “face” and agnosia, which refers to “lack of knowledge”), which prevents them from recognizing faces.
This obstacle causes they cannot recognize familiar faces, so they are unable to recognize loved ones through their image and they have to resort to observing some specific characteristics, such as the way they walk, the tone of the voice or some other distinguishing feature except the face in order to know who is in front of them. In more severe cases, those affected may not be able to recognize themselves in a mirror or see themselves in a photograph.
7. An antidepressant that causes uncontrollable orgasms
The essential chemical component of some antidepressant drugs is clomipramine. These types of drugs are not only used to cure depression, but are also used in anxiety attacks, phobias, and other types of disorders.
Some people treated with this type of medicine usually report that at the start of treatment, they experience uncontrollable orgasms when yawning. It is estimated that up to 5% of patients noticed this strange effect, in both men and women.
Although we can consider this to be a positive side effect of the drug, the truth is that people who suffer from it had problems and discomforts in their daily life.
8. Amnesia if you remember
While it is true that the idea that amnesia always erases the past memories of the person who suffered it after the trauma was transmitted, in reality this type of amnesia, called “retrograde”, is very unusual.
The most common type of amnesia is called anterograde amnesia. This is amnesia in which the person is able to remember most of the past normallyBut instead, he doesn’t remember anything of what he’s going through, he can’t remember what happened to him yesterday, or he’s even unable to remember what he did there. ten minutes. This form of amnesia is most common in people with dementia.
9. The Halo effect permeates everything
One of the psychological phenomena that most influences social relations is what is called the Halo effect. This term describes a propensity to make global and positive evaluations of natural or legal persons, on the basis of knowledge of one of their most notable characteristics.
For example, it has been observed that people who correspond better to the canons of beauty tend to generate better impressions also regarding the rest of their characteristics by those who know them little.
10. Memories always change
Another of the most interesting psychological curiosities concerns memory. And although we often use the metaphor of documentary archives to refer to how memories are held in our brains, the truth is, all of our memories are constantly changing, we do what we do. It is impossible that the content of our memory always remains the same.
11. The limit of working memory
In most people, working memory works without too much trouble, unless there are more than seven items to keep or manipulate.
12. Two types of intelligence
Intelligence can be divided into two main categories: fluid intelligence, based on mental agility, and crystallized intelligence, based on the ability to use memorized information.
13. The importance of context in drug addiction
Addictions arise not only from the brain’s interaction with the substances consumed, but also from the context. Move to a very different place and stop having contact with friends from before who used to drink also, in many cases, makes the addiction disappear.
14. Let’s remember the first and the last better
When faced with a certain number of elements to memorize (eg: shopping list), it is better to remember the first and the last.
15. The third person effect
the psychological phenomenon called “third person effect” is that, as a rule, we tend to believe that we are less sensitive believe in false information compared to most people, And that those people with whom we have regular contact and whom we appreciate are also less gullible than the average citizen.
16. The facial perception system
The human mind is particularly good at recognizing the small details of faces through the sense of sight; we are not as sensitive to the nuances of the rest of the body parts that we see.
17. The nocebo effect
People who believe they should be treated and do not receive this health care are more likely to develop health problems. This is called the nocebo effect.
18. The relationship between sleep and memory
Each time we sleep, we help consolidate the information collected during the day in our memory.
19. Differences in theory of mind between men and women
Theory of mind is the ability to infer emotional and cognitive states in other people, Without confusing what they believe, feel or think with what we believe, feel or think. We have seen that women, on average, tend to have these skills more developed.
20. Diffuse ideologies
While many people have strong preferences for good and bad political parties, in reality only a small minority exhibit consistent and stable ideologies over time.
21. Hungry Dating
Many people eat without realizing that they are not hungry, just to relieve their discomfort.
22. The limit of 150 per group
Groups of more than 150 people (approximately) need a set of clearly assigned rules and roles that allow them to create subgroups to function well and not generate conflicts. This is called the Dunbar number.
23. Anxiety and the immune system
Staying anxious for long periods of time has been shown to weaken the immune system while maintaining this state of anxiety or stress.
24. Students and attractiveness
When we look at something or someone that we find attractive, the pupils dilate more.
25. Lack of sleep leads to self-deception
People who sleep little have a much lower capacity for concentration and reasoning than others (Because of the little sleep) but not only that, but they also tend not to notice it.
26. Blind spots of vision
The human eye is made in such a way that in our visual field there is a point where we do not pick up visual stimuli, because in this place the retina merges with the optic nerve. However, we don’t realize it, because our brain “makes up” this information.
27. The ability to create images in the mind has cerebral foundations
The degree to which we are able to create images in our imaginations depends on the level of random neural activity in a part of the brain known as the visual cortex.
28. Friends matter more than parents
Although the family greatly influences the development of boys and girls, groups of friends their age are even more influential.
29. The Forer effect
We humans are predisposed to identify with ambiguous descriptions of people, we quickly take for granted that we adapt to what is explained.
30. Opposite poles are not attracted
Couples made up of people with very different interests or personalities tend to go through more problems than those made up of similar people.
- CD Balaban, Thayer JF (2001). Neurological basis of balance-anxiety links. J Anxiety disorder. 15 (1-2): pages 53 to 79.
- Gross, R. (2010). Psychology: the science of mind and behavior. London: Hachette UK.
- Mestre, TA (2020) Nocebo and lessebo effects. International Journal of Neurobiology 153, pages 121-146.
- Papalia, D. and Wendkos, S. (1992). Psychology. Mexico: McGraw-Hill.
- Ramachandran, V. and Zeve, M. (2017). Synesthesia and the McCollough Effect. i-Perception, 8 (3), p. 201 to 211.
- Roeckelein, JE (2006). Elsevier’s Dictionary of Psychological Theories. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science & Technology.
- Sherman, RA; Sherman, CJ and Parker, L. (1984). Chronic phantom pain and tension in American veterans: survey results. Pain, pages 83 to 95.
- Tavris, C. and Aronson, E. (2007). Mistakes were made (but not by me): why do we justify stupid beliefs, bad decisions and harmful acts. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt.