In here we show you top 10 great psychological facts you must know. The human psyche is indeed intricately complex, resulting in new research emerging regularly that deepens our understanding of why we behave the way we do. Amidst the vast array of psychological studies, some provide us with seemingly mundane yet intriguing facts about human psychology. In this compilation, we have gathered 10 psychology facts that shed light on human nature and potentially help explain certain patterns observed in ourselves and others.
Table of Contents
- 01. There’s no such thing as multitasking
- 02. If we have a plan B, our plan A is less likely to work
- 03. Food tastes better when someone else makes it
- 04. We can’t ignore 3 things in life: food, sex and danger
- 05. Some people enjoy seeing anger in others
- 06. You remember things better if you’ve been tested on them
- 07. Our visual perception of things differs from their actual appearance
- 08. We will always, always, always find a problem
- 09. Social media is psychologically designed to be addictive
- 10. We can memorize only 3-4 things at a time
01. There’s no such thing as multitasking
Research indicates that our cognitive abilities are limited to performing one activity at a time. Attempting to engage in simultaneous tasks, such as talking and reading or writing a letter while listening to an audiobook, typically yields unfavorable outcomes. Our brain simply struggles to concentrate on multiple tasks concurrently.
Nonetheless, there exists an exception to this rule. If the second activity is purely physical and automatic, such as tasks we routinely perform, it becomes feasible to combine both endeavors. For instance, one can engage in a phone conversation while walking. However, even in these cases, there remains a considerable risk of stumbling or becoming distracted from the conversation.
02. If we have a plan B, our plan A is less likely to work
Occasionally, being overly prepared can backfire. A set of experiments conducted at the University of Pennsylvania revealed that individuals who contemplated a backup plan before commencing a task performed more poorly compared to those who hadn’t considered an alternative course of action.
Furthermore, upon realizing they had alternative options, their motivation to succeed in the initial attempt diminished. The researchers emphasize the importance of proactive thinking, but they suggest that maintaining a degree of vagueness in one’s plans may lead to greater success.
03. Food tastes better when someone else makes it
Have you ever pondered why the sandwich you get from the nearby takeout spot seems to taste better than the ones you prepare at home, despite using the same ingredients?
According to a study published in the journal Science, the reason behind this phenomenon lies in the amount of time you spend around the meal you make yourself. The longer you are involved in the process, the less exciting the meal becomes by the time you finally take a bite. Consequently, this diminished excitement leads to a decrease in overall enjoyment of the food.
04. We can’t ignore 3 things in life: food, sex and danger
Have you ever pondered the reason behind people’s inclination to pause and observe the aftermath of a road accident, despite finding the sight distressing? It seems that bystanders continue to gaze, driven by a deep-rooted curiosity.
This curiosity stems from our “ancient brain,” a primal section responsible for survival instincts. Its primary function is to constantly scan the environment, seeking answers to three fundamental questions: “Can I eat that? Can I have sex with that? Can I be killed by that?” Food, sex, and danger remain essential aspects of our existence, and our instinctual nature compels us to pay attention to them. Thus, even though witnessing the aftermath of an accident may be distressing, we find ourselves drawn to observe due to these innate survival mechanisms.
05. Some people enjoy seeing anger in others
In a study conducted at the University of Michigan, it was discovered that individuals with high levels of testosterone exhibited improved memory recall when information was paired with an angry facial expression, as opposed to a neutral expression or no face at all. This finding suggests that they found the angry glare to be rewarding in some way.
The researchers hypothesize that certain individuals derive enjoyment from eliciting a glare or negative reaction from others, as long as the display of anger is not sustained enough to pose a genuine threat. This observation could provide insight into why someone in an office setting, for example, persists in recounting a joke at someone else’s expense, seemingly unwilling to let it go.
06. You remember things better if you’ve been tested on them
Apologies, everyone! Here’s an interesting fact from psychology: testing has been proven to be highly effective. A study published in the journal Psychological Science revealed that individuals are more likely to retain information in their long-term memory when they have been tested on that information, especially when testing occurs repeatedly, compared to simply studying the material without the need for immediate recall.
07. Our visual perception of things differs from their actual appearance
Our brain is in a continuous process of receiving and processing information from our sensory organs. It engages in the analysis of visual images, interpreting them in a manner that is accessible to us.
For instance, our ability to read text quickly stems from the fact that we are not actually reading every single letter. Instead, we tend to focus on the first and last letters of each word and rely on our past experience to intuitively fill in the missing letters. This phenomenon is captured by the saying: “It doesn’t matter in what order the letters appear in a word, as long as the first and last letters remain in place.”
08. We will always, always, always find a problem
Have you ever contemplated why, when one problem is resolved, another seems to take its place? It may not be that the world is conspiring against you, but rather your brain might be playing a role. Researchers conducted a study where volunteers were tasked with identifying threatening-looking individuals from computer-generated faces.
The findings revealed an intriguing pattern. As participants encountered fewer and fewer threatening faces over time, their perception of what constituted a “threatening” face expanded. In other words, when they exhausted the pool of faces they considered threatening, they began labeling faces as threatening that they had previously regarded as harmless. This suggests a tendency for our brains to adapt and redefine what we perceive as threatening when faced with a scarcity of actual threats.
09. Social media is psychologically designed to be addictive
Have you ever found yourself telling yourself that you’ll quickly check your Facebook notifications, only to realize 15 minutes later that you’re still scrolling through the feed? Rest assured, you’re not alone. One contributing factor to this phenomenon is the concept of infinite scroll. When you can continuously stay on a website or platform without actively interacting or clicking, your brain doesn’t receive the usual cue to stop.
Infinite scroll creates a seamless browsing experience where new content automatically loads as you reach the end of the page. This lack of natural stopping points can make it challenging for our brains to disengage from the activity. Consequently, we may find ourselves mindlessly scrolling for more extended periods than intended, as our brain doesn’t receive the customary signal to pause or move on to another task.
10. We can memorize only 3-4 things at a time
Research indicates that our brain has a limited capacity to store information, typically no more than 3-4 pieces of information at a time. Furthermore, this information can only be retained for a brief duration of around 20-30 seconds unless we actively refresh it in our memory.
For instance, imagine you are driving (remember, avoid distractions like talking on the phone while driving!) and someone on the other end provides you with a number that you cannot write down. In an attempt to remember it, you repeat the number to yourself multiple times. By doing so, you aim to keep it fresh in your short-term memory until you have the opportunity to disconnect and write it down.
Interestingly, this limited capacity to remember 3-4 pieces of information at once helps explain why many things, such as phone numbers, credit card numbers, and even paragraphs, often consist of 3-4 digits or lines. It aligns with our brain’s natural ability to retain and process a manageable amount of information within its limited working memory.
Which fact was the most surprising for you? Share in the comments!