Psychology: 10 Surprising Discoveries About The Human Mind

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Could you hurt someone just because someone authoritative person ordered you? Should we suppress our worries? Are the little things more important than the big events?

Although many people consider the psychology as a science that only confirms the things we already know about ourselves, Dr. Jeremy Dean, founder of the website PsyBlog, presents the 10 most interesting discoveries about the human mind.

  1. Cognitive dissonance

During a research conducted back in 1959 at the University of Stanford, students who participated in the experiments considered the uninteresting tasks as more interesting if they were paid less to solve it.

Cognitive dissonance is a mental state in which the individual undergoes two or more incompatible beliefs or processes more information. In the mentioned experiment the students were considering on the following way: if I’m not doing this for the money, I’m doing it because it is fun. Otherwise, they would not be able to explain their behavior.

  1. Hallucinations aren’t that rare as we thought

Whereas they act like dreams in reality, people usually consider them as a result of mental disease. But they are common in healthy individuals and during a study conducted in 2000 at University of Stanford, it was found that 1/3 of the participants experienced hallucination – 20% once in a month and 2% once in a week.

  1. Placebo Effect

Have you ever felt like the headache stopped immediately after you took the painkiller – even though it requires 15 minutes before starts to work?

A study published in “The New England Journal of Medicine” at the beginning of the XX! century showed that the effect of saline could have the same effect as morphine due to the placebo effect. Some experts claim that 80% of Prozac effect is related with placebo.

  1. Submission to authority

Most of the people believe that they are independent in their decisions and that they will never hurt other human being unless they are forced to do so. Something as simple as order wouldn’t make you to subject other human to electroshocks, right?

The famous Stanley Milgram study (Milgram’s experiment) proved that average person is willing to be obedient if confronted with authority, even if what is expected from this person to do is in completely contrary to its beliefs. Up to 63% of the participants in this experiment was hurting others, even when the subjects screamed in pain.

This research was conducted to discover the psychological explanation of the Nazi’s crimes.

  1. The fantasies reduce the motivation

One of the mostly used methods for self-motivation is the imagination for the future. For example, the bodybuilders imagine how their body will look while working out in the gym.

But, the psychologists found that the imagination is bad way of self-motivation. They are recommending mental contrasting: a combination of positive thoughts about the goal with realistic view of the obstacles that could occur.

  1. Optional blindness

We all know why we act the way we act, right? For example, we know why we are attracted by some people, but the psychologists believe that it may not be so.

During a research, the scientists convinced the participants to justify the choices they made- but actually- they haven’t made them.

The “optional blindness” theory explains that the people (don’t) have little conscious about their choices and the reasons why they are doing them.

  1. Two heads are smarter than one

The brainstorming technique is gaining on popularity around the world, but a group of psychologists claims that it isn’t useful. A research proved that people in groups are becoming lazier, forgetting their ideas while others present theirs, worrying what the other people will think about their attitude, etc.

By the way, the groups are better in evaluating ideas.

  1. Repression

How many times you were worried about something and someone comes with the common phrase: “Don’t think about it now”? Or you will just say: “I’ll deal with it tomorrow”. Scarlet O’Hara repeated these and believed that this is helpful.

But, this is a bad advice, according to the psychologists. Suppressing is counterproductive- and more we try not to think about something, the more we think about it.

  1. Multitasking

Despite the mind limitations, exercised mind could achieve amazing things, and managing more task at a moment is a great mind exercise. It is unbelievable, but there are some people who are able to read and write at the same moment.

Two participants in a study during the period of sixteen weeks of exercise, learnt to read a story and to group the words from the list in categories, at the same time.

  1. The little things are important

People usually believe that the important events from their life are actually the most important: graduation, marriage, birth of a child, etc.

However, the most important events are not related to any major changes because they affect us only in connection with matters affecting them. From the other hand, everyday situations and little things really affect the individual – sleep quality, small progresses at work and interpersonal relations.          

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