Psychology is one of the disciplines on which most of the myths circulate, Partly because its subject of study is interesting for the general public and partly also because the versatility of the mental processes can come to “invent” all kinds of bizarre theories on the functioning of our brain.
Myths of current psychology
In this chapter we will go over some of the most common myths in psychology and we will see why they are wrong.
1. Dreams have hidden meanings
One of the most popular ideas about how mental processes work is that dreams have a way of being interpreted that portrays our way of thinking, Our fears and desires.
This myth, which draws directly from the psychoanalytic theories born from Sigmund Freud, is based solely on unproven beliefs, so there is no reason to assume that dreams mean anything in particular beyond the interpretation that each wants to give them on the basis of their own creative power.
2. Many psychological problems are solved
It is very common to think that the job of psychotherapists is simply to be there to listen to the problems the patient is telling them, And that expressing these problems verbally produces a feeling of well-being which is the basis of the solution offered by psychology.
However, we must not forget that many of the causes that people turn to the psychologist for are related to specific objective factors and materials that will not go away just because we talk about them. Situations of family tension, eating disorders, gambling addiction, phobias … all exist because there is a dynamic of interaction between the person and the elements of his environment which reproduces and is maintained over time, which whatever the way the person lives he or the interpreter
3. There is a rational brain and an emotional brain
too much there is the myth that two superimposed brains live in our head: a rational brain and an emotional brain.. This has a small share of truth, as areas of the brain closest to the brainstem and limbic system are more directly involved in mental processes related to emotional states if we compare them to areas on the brain surface such as now the frontal lobe, but this is still a simplification.
What is really happening is that all parts of the brain are working together on both emotional and “rational” thinking processes, to the point that it is virtually impossible to know if a pattern of neuronal activation is rational or emotional-based.
4. We only use 10% of the brain
This myth is very popular, and yet it is absurd in many ways. First, when we talk about this hidden potential of 10% of our brain, statements based on the material (how our body actually works) are often confused with those referring to our “hidden potential” as something more abstract. and based on the philosophy of life we follow.
This makes it possible to “throw stone and hide your hand” – that is, to say things which are presumably based on scientific knowledge and, when questioned, to pass them off as mere ideas about the subject. life worth living, how we can find ourselves, etc.
To learn more about why everything we know about how the brain works contradicts the 10% myth, you can read this article.
5. Subliminal Messages Make You Buy Things
The idea that an advertising team can make us feel the need to buy a particular product by inserting “hidden” frames in a video or letters in an image has not only been demonstrated, but they are based on an experience, that of James Vicary and Coca-Cola, Which never saw the light of day as such, as Vicary himself admitted.
6. Interpretation of someone’s drawings is used to assess their personality
Analyzing people’s drawings is only useful when exploring very specific diseases, such as heminegligence, in which the left half of what is perceived is ignored (and therefore the left side of the drawings is left unfinished). In other words, projective tests, such as those in which someone’s drawings are analyzed, are not used to assess details about people’s personalities and, beyond individual opinions about the therapists who apply them, under the magnifying glass of studies analyzing a multitude of results have never proved effective.
The meta-analyzes that have been performed on these tests indicate that they are of little or no use, among other things because there is no one way to interpret a drawing: for some reason it is a product. creativity. preconceived patterns.
7. Hypnosis allows you to control someone’s will.
Hypnosis seems to be little less than a magical power that makes a person trained in these techniques able to manipulate the bodies of other people at will, but the reality is far from such a marketing and spectacular vision.
The truth is that hypnosis is mainly based on suggestion and the degree to which the person is willing to participate in the technique. Someone who does not want to be hypnotized will not be influenced by hypnosis.
8. Personality is attributed during youth
It is true that the first years of development are fundamental and that the things which happen to us in them can leave a trace difficult to erase at the level of the way we act and perceive things, but this should not be exaggerated.
Important aspects of personality can continue to vary once adolescence and young adulthood are left behind in the same way that happens to them. Walter white in Breaking Bad (but not always for evil, of course). After all, our brains are constantly changing based on what we’re going through, even in old age.