Tuesday, December 16, 2014

15 Facts About Human Psychology

The human brain is an interesting and powerful organ, but 
understanding why it does what it does is a process that 
we’re still studying. The conscious mind and the 
subconscious mind, psychological effects on our decisions, 
our habits, etc', all occur in the brain, yet most of us aren't 
aware when these processes take place. This list encompasses 
15 of the more interesting facts about our behaviour.

1. We blame a person’s behavior on their personality, unless it's us

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

One classic examples is driving – how many times have you seen 
someone cut you off on the road, and the first thing on your mind 
was “What a crazy *#%@”, but 15 minutes later, you tell yourself 
it’s OK to cut another person because you’re “in a hurry, and it’s 
just this one time”. We tend to attribute our decisions to external 
forces, and other people’s bad behavior on their internal attributes. 
Sadly, it’s a very difficult behavior to stop…

2. We overestimate how we would react to future events

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

How many times were you sure that your reaction to future events 
would be one way, only for that event to arrive, and your reaction 
is significantly different? The reason behind this is that most of 
us are bad at predicting the future. You think that getting the job 
of your dreams or marrying that special person will make you 
happy, but when you do – you’re pretty much the same. Studies 
show that an individual's level of happiness will almost always 
revert to an average level.

3. Our strongest memories are usually inaccurate

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

We feel  the memories of traumatic events “burn” themselves into 
our minds, to remain there forever (this is known as “Flashbulb 
Memories”). Studies have shown that the stronger the emotional 
state you were in during that event, the more the memory is inaccurate.

4. We can only sustain a high level of concentration for 10 minutes

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

Do you think you can concentrate on a task for more than 10 minutes? 
Studies indicate otherwise. On average, a person’s attention span peaks 
after 10 minutes and then the mind will start wandering.

5. Our brains wander for about 30% of the day

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

On average, we spend about 30% of our day daydreaming (though some people do it more). On the up side of this, researchers point out that people who tend to daydream more are better at solving problems and tend to be more creative.

6. Humans can’t multitask!
15 Things Psychology Tells Us

You may hear people claiming that they’re natural multitasks
and you even see it in some job requirements, but humans 
simply cannot multitask. Sure, you can listen to music while you 
work, but your brain can only process one higher-function task 
at a time. That means that you’ll either be doing work and 
mainly ignore the music or listen to the music and ignore your 
work. People simply cannot think about two things at once.

7. Most of your decisions are made subconsciously

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

Do you think about all the decisions you make, weighing all the 
options and calculating the impact of each outcome? You might 
think so, but you’re wrong. The majority of your decisions are 
made in your subconscious because otherwise – your conscious 
mind would be overwhelmed with information, and you’ll probably 
get mentally frozen. The reason for this is that your brain receives 
over 11 million bits of information every second, and there’s simply 
not enough “brain power” to go through all of it consciously. 

8. We can only store between 5 and 9 bits of information at once

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

The average human can only keep an average of 7 bits of information 
at once in their short-term memory. Each of the 7 bits of information 
can be comprised of several pieces of relevant data. The best 
example is remembering a phone number – it can be anywhere 
between 9 and 14 digits long, so we break it into segments  country 
code, area code, and a set of numbers we split (usually to 3-4 digit 

9. We prefer shorter lines of text, but read longer ones better

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

Sounds counterintuitive, but while we might prefer to read narrow 
columns, we’ll read the same information faster if it’s spread to the 
width of the page. The only reason you don’t notice that is because 
you visually prefer the shorter layout.

10. We want more choices, but choose better with fewer options

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

Professor Dan Ariely tells in his book “Predictably Irrational” about 
an experiment he and his colleagues performed: They set up two 
booths that offered jam for sale. One booth had 24 different kinds 
of jams while the other only had six kinds of jam. The table with 
fewer options managed to sell six times more jams than the one 
with more options. This reverts us back to #8 – our brain just cannot 
process too many options.

11. We think other people are more easily influenced than us

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

We can see the effect advertising has on other people more 
clearly than its impact on ourselves - this is known as the “Third 
Person Effect”. We can tell how an ad affects our peers, but deny 
its effects on ourselves, and it gets worse when it’s an ad for something 
we have no interest it. You have ly not realized it, but all the 
advertisements you see every day have a subconscious effect on 
your mood, desires and even attitude.

12. Your brain doesn’t stop working when you sleep

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

Your brain is just as active when you sleep as it is when you’re awake. 
Scientists have discovered that the only time your brain clears out 
toxins and waste is when you sleep. It is also believed that during 
the sleep cycles, your brain sorts out all the data from the previous 
day and creates new associations.

13. “Wisdom of the Crowd” is not very wise

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

Psychologists refer to this as “Groupthink” – the larger the group 
of individuals, the more ly it is to make choices based on emotions 
rather than logic and common sense.

14. Crowds are easily swayed

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

People with a dominant or charismatic personalities can easily 
affect crowd opinions and maneuver groups to do their bidding. 
They appeal to the group’s emotions, taking advantage of the 
effect in #13. (Oddly enough, research proves that two heads are 
still better than one)

15. It takes a person 66 days to form a habit

15 Things Psychology Tells Us

There is a lot of research data that suggests that following a pattern 
for 66 days will make it habitual. If, for example, you want to be 
better about cleaning your home or going to the gym – make a 
conscious effort to do it for 66 days, after which it will become a habit 
and will be easier to persevere. (This also works for breaking habits)

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