Over the years, scientists have uncovered many of the mysteries and shortcomings of the human brain that were safely hidden in our psyche.
Today we invite you on a journey inside your own head to find out what makes your consciousness work.
7. We’re Constantly Altering Our Memories
We tend to view our memories like short films or video clips. Things that are on some “shelf” inside our brain, safe and unalterable. But it turned out that memories of past events change every time they pass through our mind’s eyes.
Its content is influenced by memory blackouts and events from the more recent past.
For example, you do not have clear memories of all the people who attended a family reunion a few years ago, but since your aunt never misses such events, your mind finally includes her in the memories, even if she was absent on that particular occasion.
6. We Can Only Have A Limited Number Of Friends
Psychologists and sociologists have created something called a Dunbar number: the maximum number of people with whom a person can have close ties.
So even if you have thousands of ‘friends’ on Facebook, you can only have meaningful communication with 50-200 of them.
5. We Feel Happier When We’re Busy
Imagine that you are at the airport and you need to collect your luggage. In ten minutes, you arrive at the claims area and immediately collect your suitcase.
And now, a slightly different situation. Find a shortcut and get to the baggage carousel in just two minutes. Then you spend the remaining eight minutes waiting for your suitcase to show up.
In both cases, it took no more than ten minutes to collect the luggage. However, in the second scenario, you probably felt more impatient and dissatisfied.
This is due to the fact that our brain does not like to be inactive and prefers to be busy. And, for each task performed, it rewards us with dopamine, the hormone of happiness.
4. We Can Memorize Only 3-4 Things At A Time
Studies show that our brain cannot store more than 3-4 information at a time. Also, this information can only be kept for 20-30 seconds. After that time, we forget it, unless we continually update it in our memory.
For example, you are driving and talking on the phone (don’t do that!). The person on the other end gives you a number, but you can’t write it down, so try to memorize it.
You repeat the number several times, to keep it in short-term memory until you can unplug it and write it down.
By the way, the fact that we find it easier to remember 3-4 pieces of information at once explains why so many things consist of 3-4 digits or lines.
This applies to phone and credit card numbers and even the paragraph you are reading.
3. Our Visual Perception Of Things Differs From Their Actual Appearance
Our brain constantly processes the information received from the sensory organs. Analyze visual images and interpret them in a way that is accessible to us.
For example, the reason we can read a text quickly is that we are not actually reading it. We simply note the first and last letters of each word and intuitively fill in the rest, based on our previous experience.
As the saying goes: “It dsoen’t mtater in waht odrer the ltetres apepar in a wrod, if the fsirt and the lsat lteters remian in palce.”
Watch? We observe clusters of confusing letters, but we perceive them as appropriate words! And that doesn’t just happen with text messages.
2. We Spend 30% Of Our Time Daydreaming
Imagine that you are working, studying an important document. Suddenly, you realize that you have just read the same sentence three times in a row. Instead of analyzing the text, your mind was wandering.
Scientists at the University of California say that every day we spend 30% of our time daydreaming. Sometimes (for example, during long trips) this share increases to 70%, but there is nothing wrong with that.
Studies show that people who love to roam in the clouds tend to be more creative. Also, they are better at solving problems and getting rid of stress.
1. We Can’t Ignore 3 Things In Life: Food, Sex, And Danger
Have you ever wondered why people always stop to look at the consequences of a traffic accident? Even though onlookers find the sight disturbing, they still open up.
This curiosity is caused by our “old brain”, a section responsible for survival. Their role is to constantly examine the environment, asking (and answering) 3 questions: “Can I eat this? Can I have sex with this? can I be killed by that?”
Food, sex, and danger are still the fundamental things to keep us alive, so we can’t help paying attention to them.
What fact surprised you the most? Share in the comments!