The human mind can never fail to amaze us. It is undoubtedly the most powerful organ of the human body. It has so much to it that you can probably never fully understand it.
Here are ten mind-blowing phenomena of a human mind that you probably did not know about.
1. Clustering illusion
Clustering illusion refers to when you perceive random events that occur in clusters as not random. The reason behind this illusion is the counterintuitive assumption about statistical odds.
For example, if you unexpectedly get four heads in a row, it will strike you as unusual. Then the next time when you get three consecutive heads, your mind will tell you the next flip cannot be a heads. Despite the 50% probability, you will be biased and think that the probabilities have changed. The clustering illusion has caused many gamers to lose just because their minds tell them the probabilities have changed.
2. Halo effect
Also known as Horn’s effect, the halo effect is when you judge a person, thing, or brand to have many poor qualities just because you know they have one poor trait. It involves allowing a single weak point or negative quality to influence the overall perception of the person, thing, or brand.
3. Pygmalion effect
This is another interesting phenomenon in which the greater it is expected from people, the better they perform. It is often seen in children, students, and employees. This effect is basically a form of self-fulfilling prophecy, a prediction that causes itself to become true.
People with negative expectations internalize their negative label. For example, a person who thinks he is going to fail a test is likely to not give his best efforts and consequently, end up performing badly. Alternatively, people with positive expectations succeed.
4. Déjà vu
The literal meaning of déjà vu is ‘already seen’. Déjà vu occurs when you strongly sense that the event you are currently experiencing has been already experienced before. In addition to a strong sense of familiarity, you are likely to experience a strong sense of weirdness, strangeness, and eeriness.
The previous experience is usually associated with a dream but sometimes, it makes complete sense that if you have experienced it in the past.
5. Reverse psychology
Reactance is another name for this phenomenon. It can be described as the urge to do the opposite of what someone has asked you to do. Your mind perceives that the other person is trying to constrain your freedom of choice and thus, in order to resist his/her attempt you end up doing the opposite thing. Reactance theory is also sometimes called the ‘forbidden fruit theory’.
6. Spotlight effect
Spotlight effect is described as the tendency to overestimate the amount that people notice or pay attention to your appearance or behavior. The reason behind this is that you tend to forget that even if you are the center of your own world, you are not the center of others’ world – it is an innate tendency.
7. Cognitive dissonance
It is yet another interesting mind phenomenon. Since we cannot hold two contradictory beliefs, we unconsciously tend to adjust one of them to fit the other.
Consider an example from a classic study in which students found a boring task interesting when they were paid less for it. Their unconscious mind reasoned that if they did not do it for money since they were not getting good money, the task must have been interesting.
8. Bystander effect
Also called bystander apathy, bystander effect is a social psychological phenomenon that explains the instances when people do not offer any help to a victim in the presence of other people. It works this way: the probability of help decreases as the number of bystanders increases. The responsibility of helping the victim shifts to other people.
9. Dunning-Kruger effect
The unskilled people have the tendency to overestimate their skills and abilities while on the other hand, skilled people tend to underestimate their own ability. This is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.
10. Semantic satiation
Semantic satiation is a psychological phenomenon in which a word or phrase loses its meaning temporarily for the listener due to repetition. The repeated word or phrase is then processed as repeated sounds with no meaning. You must have experienced this when you repeat a new word several times to get the pronunciation and accent right, and it starts sounding weirder with every repetition before it loses all its meaning.
You must have experienced the majority of these interesting phenomena if not all, without even knowing your entire life. The next time you experience something you read here, try to focus on the details of the phenomenon – you will be amazed how your mind works!