The human mind is a complex thing that scientists are still trying to unravel and decode. It is a network of millions of synapses and nerve endings that change and evolve so it’s hard to keep up with the cognitive processes.
Researches, studies and experiments in labs have all proven that it is still hard to decipher how the mind works. While some mysteries have explanations, some are just downright mysterious such as the following 9 phenomena:
1. Reverse psychology
Have you ever done something when somebody specifically told you not to do it? Isn’t it tempting to do it and show your act of rebellion? This phenomenon is known as reactance.
Reactance is something that works as your motivation to do that particular thing by which people have stopped or discouraged you from doing. The mind often perceives is as a threat by others and in order to show dominance or rebellion, it tells you to do the exact opposite.
The idea of your choice or freedom to do something being taken away from you doesn’t feel good and so you want to do it anyway. This is because in earlier times only the truly powerful had all the freedom to do anything and everything while the slaves had to obey their every command.
This is also known as Déjà Vu, it is when someone feels as if they have seen, heard or experienced something from before or an event has already happened. This phenomenon is not restricted to any age and can happen to everyone.
It is experiencing a very strong sense of familiarity with something. Déjà Vu literally translates to ‘already seen’ in French and is often accompanied by a feeling of weirdness. Many psychiatrists can also create this sensation during hypnosis.
Theories suggest that it might be due to the brain getting mixed up with other stimuli that must have brought about similar feelings with different experiences.
Have you ever looked at different shapes and objects and imagined other things out of them? If so then what you are experiencing is apophenia. It is making patterns and connections in random things. Some of the most common occurrences of apophenia are when people see different animal shaped clouds or even listening to tape in reverse.
That’s right, they are not any hidden or cryptic messages from the Illuminati! It’s just apophenia doing its magic. In 1978, a Mexican woman discovered the face of Jesus on her tortilla and deemed it as something miraculous. Hordes of people came to her just to see that framed tortilla which was just a case of mass apophenia.
4. Horn’s effect
It is also known as the devil’s effect or halo’s effect. It is when anything or anyone, be it a person, thing, brand or idea, has any negative or undesirable aspect about it, it is then subsequently judged as entirely negative regardless of other positive traits.
In simple terms, the mind just latches on to the negative side of something, and then tends to perceive as other aspects of that thing as negative too! It’s not being biased; it’s merely the mind saving itself the energy to analyze other areas and so makes a quick assumption.
5. Pygmalion effect
It is basically like a self-fulfilling prophecy where people with a certain track of mind perceive things in life that results in the outcome that they believe in. It also works if someone places high expectations on others and they end up performing well such as bosses with employees and parents with their children.
People who think positively only experience or at least perceive things as positive whereas negative mindset people find everything bad. People who internalize labels have a hard time trying to think any other way. Studies have shown students who think that they will not do well on a test, decrease their chances of getting a good grade by performing worse than they actually would.
6. Placebo effect
This might be similar to the Pygmalion effect. It is another phenomenon of positive expectation. Doctors in the early 19th century discovered that giving patients an ineffective or inert medication made them think that it is working and in the process, they were able to get healed.
They even went as far as to perform fake surgeries so that patients believed they were healed. Its opposite is the nocebo effect where patients think that nothing can cure them. Many pharmaceutical companies today use this strategy to carry out different researches to find out the potency of a particular drug they are testing out.
7. Pratfall effect
It’s a phenomenon where a person’s likeability or attractiveness increases or decreases based on a mistake they made. You would think that people who make mistakes are not likeable but in this phenomenon they are.
People who are perfect seem unapproachable and not relatable but people who make mistakes remind us of our humanness. That is why in comedy, people laugh when someone trips over a banana peel or does something clumsy.
8. Cheerleader effect or group attractiveness effect
This a new discovery made and surprisingly it was coined in an episode of How I Met Your Mother. This theory stipulates that people look attractive in a group but if each of them is looked at individually, they might not be as attractive as they initially seemed.
Studies were carried out where people were shown pictures of a group. People focused more on the attractive ones and thus concluded that everyone is attractive. But when all the group member’s pictures were shown separately, some of them were perceived average.
9. Overview effect
This phenomenon has only been experienced by astronauts. This is when they see the earth in its entirety and they have this overwhelming and strange feeling. Many astronauts have described the feeling as something deep which causes them to have a paradigm shift and have a new perspective on things.
These strange phenomena are nothing short of being conversation starters so impress others with your knowledge and seem like an intellectual.