20 most interesting facts about psychology

Psychology is one of the most interesting sciences. Here are 20 facts that will pique your interest.

20 most interesting facts about psychology
Viktor Simunović, Dr.med.
Dr.med. Viktor Simunović
18 March 2024.

Uncover the mysteries of our mental processes and behaviours as we delve into the 20 most interesting facts about psychology. From intriguing insights into human behaviour to surprising discoveries about the brain, these facts will captivate and enlighten you.

Whether you're a psychology enthusiast or just curious about the inner workings of the human mind, there's something here to pique your interest.

  1. It takes about 66 days for an average individual to make something a daily habit
  2. You cannot tickle yourself You can't tickle yourself because your brain is able to predict the sensation and thus reduces the response. This is based on the understanding that our brain distinguishes between expected and unexpected sensations. It uses this information to help us respond to potentially harmful, unexpected sensations. So, when you try to tickle yourself, your brain anticipates this action and lessens the tickling sensation.
  3. The placebo effect is more effective if the placebo is bright and branded This is mainly due to psychological factors. Bright colors and branding can make a placebo appear more appealing and professional, increasing a patient's belief in its effectiveness. The patient's increased belief can then amplify the placebo effect. This effect is tied to our subconscious associations: we often associate bright colors and branding with effectiveness and quality due to marketing and advertising strategies. Additionally, cultural and social factors can also play a role. For example, in some cultures, specific colors are associated with healing or health, which may enhance the placebo effect.
  4. The phenomenon of "inattentional blindness" Inattentional blindness is a psychological lack of attention not associated with defects or deficits. It may be further defined as a deficit in attention in which an individual fails to perceive an unexpected stimulus in plain sight. This phenomenon results from individuals focusing on a particular task or event, causing them to overlook other occurrences.
  5. Neuroplasticity Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, is the brain's ability to change throughout an individual's life. This change can occur in various ways, including creating new neurons, changes in the strength of neural connections, and organization of neural networks. It can happen due to learning, experience, or following injury. This concept challenges the previous belief that the adult brain cannot be fundamentally altered. Neuroplasticity is the foundation of the brain's potential to recover from brain injury or improve its performance through meditation or cognitive therapy.
  6. Humans have three types of memory: sensory, short-term, and long-term Sensory Memory: This type of memory is the initial stage that holds all incoming information for a few seconds or less. It is constantly in contact with our senses and can have much information, but only briefly. Short-term memory (also known as Working Memory): Small amounts of information can be stored for roughly 20 to 30 seconds. It is the component of our memory where we think, solve problems, and make decisions. Long-term memory: This is a type of memory that can hold information for long periods of time, perhaps indefinitely. It has an almost limitless storage capacity and includes facts, experiences, and skills we've learned.
  7. People are more likely to comply with a request if they are touched lightly on their elbow or upper arm during the request This is based on various psychological studies that suggest that a light touch on the elbow or upper arm can create a momentary bond between two people. This brief connection can make a person more likely to agree to a request, making the one being touched feel more connected or positive towards the one doing the touching.
  8. The blue colour has been found to have calming effects on the mind and can decrease appetite. The blue colour is believed to slow down human metabolism, causing a calming effect that reduces anxiety and aggression. This calming effect can also suppress appetite, as stress and anxiety are often triggers for overeating. Blue is also the least common colour found in foods (with the exception of certain fruits and vegetables), so it is not a colour to which our appetites naturally respond. Some weight loss plans even suggest using blue plates to help curb appetite.
  9. The "halo effect" The halo effect in psychology is a cognitive bias that influences how we perceive others. It occurs when our overall impression of someone is influenced by how we feel and think about their character. For example, if we perceive someone as attractive or likeable, we are more likely to assume they are also intelligent, kind, and funny.
  10. The "Dunning-Kruger effect" The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people believe they are more intelligent and more capable than they are. Low-ability individuals do not possess the skills needed to recognize their incompetence. Poor self-awareness and low cognitive ability make them overestimate their capabilities.
  11. Introverts tend to dream more frequently than extroverts
  12. The brain treats rejection like physical pain The anterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain known for its role in physical pain sensation, is also thought to be involved in the emotional response to rejection. This is why break-ups and social exclusion can feel so painful.
  13. "Mere Exposure Effect" The mere exposure effect is a psychological concept which suggests that people tend to develop a preference for things simply because they are familiar with them. In social psychology, this effect is also known as the familiarity principle. It asserts that the more we are exposed to a particular stimulus, the more we tend to like it. This can apply to various things, such as music, art, people, or even products in advertising.
  14. "Birth Order" theory Birth Order Theory in psychology refers to the concept that one's birth order (i.e., whether one is the firstborn, middle child, last-born, or only child) can significantly impact one's personality and behaviour. Alfred Adler, an Austrian psychiatrist and a contemporary of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, introduced this theory. According to Adler, firstborns may be more responsible, reliable, and achievement-oriented due to their role as the eldest child in the family. Middle children might feel less unique but could develop excellent social skills and resilience as they navigate between older and younger siblings. Youngest children are often more outgoing and rebellious and might be more creative due to the freedom they experience.
  15. The "Bystander Effect" The 'Bystander Effect' is a social psychological theory that suggests individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim when other people are present. The greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. This effect is often due to the diffusion of responsibility, where individuals feel less personal responsibility to react because they perceive that others present will or should intervene.
  16. "Cognitive Dissonance" Cognitive dissonance is a psychological theory developed by Leon Festinger in the 1950s. It refers to the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, values, or perceptions or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, values, or perceptions. This discomfort often leads individuals to take steps to reduce the inconsistency and restore balance, either by changing their beliefs or perceptions or by minimizing the importance of the conflict.
  17. "Confirmation Bias" Confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias that involves favouring information that confirms your existing beliefs or biases. For example, if someone believes they are very good at making decisions, they will look for information supporting this belief and ignore or downplay information that contradicts it.
  18. The "Foot-in-the-door" technique The 'Foot-in-the-door' technique is a psychological persuasion tactic used in negotiations and sales. It involves getting a person to agree to a large request by setting them up to agree to a modest request. The term is derived from the metaphor of a door-to-door salesperson who tries to get a literal foot in the door to engage with the person to make a sale.
  19. Spending money on experiences instead of material items leads to greater happiness
  20. The "Spotlight Effect" The 'Spotlight Effect' is a term used in psychology to refer to our tendency to overestimate how much other people notice about us. In other words, we think we are the centre of attention more than we are.
  21. And there are many more... The human mind is still mostly undiscovered. Nobody really knows how it works or why humans behave as they do. But every day, psychologists discover something new and bring us closer to discovering the secrets of the human brain and behaviour.
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