8 popular psychological myths that already have a scientific explanation

Any discipline of knowledge encompasses data curious in the eyes of the general public. the psychology it is perhaps one of those disciplines where curiosities abound, for there are countless legends about our conduct.

Psychological myths: putting black and white on the basis of scientific data

Today we’re going to go over eight of them, eight psychological myths.

1. Detect the lies

There is the popular belief that a number of people have a superior ability to warn when they find themselves in front of someone who is lying to them. If the myth is not, it must be said that research carried out in the United States in 1999 revealed that those people most able to detect the extraterrestrial lie had serious brain damage at the level of the frontal lobe, in the hemisphere. left.

These injuries cause them to lose their language skills, a handicap that they compensate for with a superior ability to scrutinize the non-verbal language of others, and thanks to this compensation, they are able to better notice lies.

2. Subliminal Messages: Do They Work?

It is generally believed that subliminal messages (which we unconsciously perceive) they can really lead to changes in our behavior, without at least being aware that those changes have occurred; without control over them.

In 1957, publicist James Vicary claimed to have shown that if certain subliminal messages such as “Eat Sweets” or “Drink Coca-Cola” were projected onto a screen, greater demand for these products would be generated. And therefore an increase in sales. . however, no one in the future has been able to corroborate these results, And the truth is that in 1962, James Vicary admitted to having manipulated the investigation.

3. Count the sheep against insomnia

The recommendation to count sheep as a remedy for insomnia was discredited in a 2002 study that took place at the University of Oxford, UK. It was concluded that this technique was by no means effective. To reach this conclusion, the time taken to fall asleep of two groups of subjects with insomnia was compared. One of the groups was to count the sheep, and the other did not.

No differences between groups were reported. The group members would count the sheep if they complained that they were more bored, but that didn’t make them fall asleep sooner. One thing that helps sleep, according to this study, is to think of a scene that generates tranquility.

4. Cancer caused by bad mood

Certain diseases, such as cancer, have been linked to certain negative personal attitudes. Without going any further, it has often been said that those who tend to suppress their emotions more may be more vulnerable to the disease.

However, while it is true that showing a positive attitude towards an illness can help you get out of it, it has not been shown that maintaining a negative attitude can lead to illness. In fact, what has been well studied is that there is a certain relationship in the opposite direction: some research reveals that in working women, who report mild to moderate stress, the likelihood of developing a condition. breast cancer is lower than in women. women who do not have stress.

5. Classical music and intelligence

Have you ever heard that listening to classical music can increase intelligence? Or listening to unborn classical music helps them develop their intelligence.

This popular idea arose from an American study in 1993, and it seemed to be confirmed in another study from the University of California ten years later. Despite this research, the University of Vienna recently conducted a more detailed and systematic study of the phenomenon, without reporting an increase in the intelligence of those who listen to classical music.

6. We only use 10% of the brain

Perhaps one of the most recurring myths is what he says we only use 10% of our brain. It is not easy to explain how the myth came about, but it is possible that it happened in the 19th century, when a well-known American psychologist expressed doubts that people reached over 10%. of their intellectual potential. It is likely that it appeared as a misinterpretation of knowledge in neurology at the start of the 20th century, when science still believed that only 10% of neurons could be activated simultaneously.

Another possible explanation for the genesis of the myth is the idea that neurons make up only 10% of total brain cells, since the rest are glial cells, whose basic function, although necessary, is to provide energy support. to neurons. In any case, the myth is completely false. The idea that large regions of the brain remain inactive is not based on any scientific premise, Logical or scalable.

Brain tissue comes at a high cost in terms of energy consumption, as it consumes over 20% of the oxygen we breathe, although it is no more than 3% of body weight, and it is crazy to think that the energy system and the evolution are maintained the efficiency of an organ is 10%. If the myth were true, a brain injury in which the area would not affect the functioning of the person’s mental processes, which is totally uncertain.

If you want to dive into this myth, we recommend the article: “We only use 10% of the brain”: myth or reality? “

7. Foolproof memory?

As for memory, it is generally believed memories are a true reflection of what we are experiencing in their time. We are not very able to keep in mind that our memory can distort facts, even unconsciously.

But the reality is that memory does not work like an audiovisual recording machine (player mode), but works reconstructively: that is, the end product (memory) is a mixture of some specific details. and others that we actually have. rebuilt according to our expectations, needs, beliefs and emotions.

To explore this problem further, we recommend the article: “Gordon H. Bower: Memories are Interrupted by Emotions”

8. Women talk more than men

Finally, another widely held myth needs to be clarified regarding a difference between men and women. More precisely, the myth concerns which of the two sexes speaks the most. If we ask a man the question, he will probably answer that they talk a lot more than they do. But the truth is, several studies have found that, on average, both sexes use a similar number of words per day: around 16,000.

It is true, however, that they tend to express their emotions and thoughts more openly, in addition to being able to perceive non-verbal communication more accurately. There also seems to be an explanation for why men consider women to speak more: it appears that the female voice has longer intonation, higher pitch, and more complex inflections, factors that can lead to irritation of the voice. man if he is. exposed for a long time to female speech.

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