5 impressive psychological discoveries

The systematic study of human mental processes and behaviors has long been questionable. why we act the way we do. Human psychology has surprisingly relatively unknown curiosities. We recommend, if you like to read about this type of curiosity, to take a look at our old installments:

  • 8 psychological curiosities that will impact you
  • 8 popular psychological myths that already have a scientific explanation
  • 10 psychological phenomena that will surprise you

Amazing psychological discoveries

In this article that we present to you today, we propose to exhibit a total of 05:00 Superb psychological discoveries which answer some puzzles of our psyche.

Are you ready to meet them? By clicking on the links, you can access more detailed information on each of the discoveries.

1. The Halo effect

The halo effect is one of the concepts that has captured the most attention of social psychologists and groups. It is a cognitive bias by which the overall impression on a person (Example: “he is nice”) it is generated from judgments that concern certain specific traits (For example: “he is intelligent”). To better illustrate the phenomenon of the Halo effect, we could evoke the case of stars on the big screen.

The famous actors who appear in the highest grossing films are usually people with great physical attractiveness and talented people. These are the people who know how to captivate with their gestures and their gaze, they perfectly dominate the image they project. These two traits (physical attractiveness and sympathy) lead us to suppose, through this curious psychological effect, that they are also intelligent, generous, friendly people, etc. the halo effect it also happens the other way around: if a person is not physically graceful, we will tend to think of them as an unpleasant or uninteresting person. In other words, we will tend in this case to attribute specific negative traits.

  • Please note: the Halo effect is also used in the world of marketing

2. Dark energy of the brain

Although it seems counterintuitive, when we have been stunned without thinking of anything in particular or are about to fall asleep, our brain uses barely 5% less energy than when we try to solve difficult puzzles.

Not only that: when this happens, large areas of the brain begin to emit signals in a coordinated fashion, causing hundreds of thousands of neurons to work together for … we don’t know why. The fact that these areas of the brain, which are part of what has been called the neural network by default, stop working together when we are paying attention and using our focused attention to solve tasks or think about specific things has done of this electrical diagram. the signals have been called “black brain energy”.

  • You can find out more here

3. Cognitive dissonance

Why are we wrong? This is another question that psychologists and philosophers have asked themselves over the centuries. In the study of human psychology, cognitive dissonance it is described as the discomfort or contradictory feeling we experience when our beliefs conflict with what we are doing., Or when one defends at the same time two discordant ideas.

Pruning psychologists Leon Festinger and James Carlsmith they demonstrated something surprising and which marked a before and after in the study of cognitive dissonance. If a person is asked to lie and they are not seen as a person who usually lies, they will be able to tell the lie and continue to see themselves as an honest person. Curious, isn’t it? But how is this possible? The human mind resolves this kind of cognitive dissonance by convincing itself that the lie you just told is in fact a truth. While this may work on a low conscious level, the truth is that our brain tends to think well of us.

  • More information on this effect, in this article

4. The effect of a false consensus

Another cognitive bias studied in all psychology schools is the effect of false consensus. The effect of false consensus is that many people tend to overestimate the degree of “agreement” that others have with their approaches or opinions.. Certainly, we tend to perceive that our opinions, values, beliefs or habits are the most common and supported by most of the people around us. This belief causes us to overestimate the confidence we have in our opinions, even if they are false, biased or in the minority.

From now on, remember: The effect of a false consensus can make you believe that your opinion is shared by other people … and maybe you are the only one who thinks so.

5. The Westermarck effect

the incest it is one of the most universal taboos and, oddly enough, it is difficult to rationally justify its existence by adhering to the values ​​of “as long as it does not harm anyone, it should not be prohibited”. However, from an evolutionary point of view yes reasons can be found to prevent incest, Because this can lead to the birth of individuals with health problems or difficulties in living independently.

Based on this idea, the researcher Edvard Westermarck came to suggest that humans have an innate propensity not to feel sexual attraction to people with whom we had frequent contact during childhood. This results in a lack of sexual desire towards people who are statistically very likely to be part of our family.

This phenomenon, known as the Westermarck effect, has been found in numerous studies on the subject, the best known being a survey in which it was found that people who had been raised in the same kibbutz (an agricultural commune typical of Israel) they are much less likely to marry.

  • More information on this effect in this article

Bibliographical references:

  • Triglia, Adrián; Regader, Bertrand; García-Allen, Jonathan (2016). Psychologically speaking. Paidós.
  • Papalia, D. and Wendkos, S. (1992). Psychology. Mexico: McGraw-Hill, p. 9.

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