Mind Matters: 50 Astonishing Psychology Facts

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26Roughhousing and Development: Communication Skills

Roughhousing and Development: Communication Skills

Psychological research shows that roughhousing is essential for childhood development. It teaches communication skills, rule negotiation, and how to communicate verbally and non-verbally. Children who are not allowed to horseplay are more likely to exhibit increased violence later in life.

27. Psychogenic cough refers to coughs caused by psychological stress, without an obvious medical cause. However, there are challenges in defining and differentially diagnosing this condition.

28. Research has linked visible ocean views in an area to a reduction in psychological stress, even when considering factors like income and neighborhood status. A study in Wellington, New Zealand, found that higher visibility of blue space was associated with lower psychological distress, highlighting the potential mental health benefits of increased access to natural elements in urban areas.

29. Some visitors to Paris experience Paris syndrome, which resembles severe culture shock and is characterized by extreme disappointment. Characterized by psychiatric symptoms like delusional states, hallucinations, and anxiety, it primarily affects East and Southeast Asian travelers, such as those from Japan, China, South Korea, and Singapore. Experts theorize that heightened excitement causes physical symptoms and media portrayals contribute to unmet expectations, leading to immense disappointment.

30. Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman identified the concept of "loss aversion," which suggests that people tend to prefer avoiding losses to acquiring equivalent gains. People tend to prefer avoiding losses to acquiring equivalent gains. For example, people find it better to not lose $5 than to find $5.

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31Reverse Psychology: Frederick II and Potatoes

Reverse Psychology: Frederick II and Potatoes

King Frederick II employed reverse psychology on his peasants, who initially refused to eat potatoes because they tasted horrible. To combat the food famine, he sent guards to protect potato fields, leading peasants to steal and grow their own.

32. White torture is a form of psychological torture that entails extreme sensory deprivation and isolation, involving placing the prisoner in a "completely white, soundproof room." This method strips the detainee of personal identity and can induce hallucinations.

33. Cherophobia is a psychological condition that literally means the fear of being happy. Individuals with this condition experience anxiety at joyful events like parties, avoid life-improving opportunities, and shun joyous people.

34. The Bystander Effect is a social psychological phenomenon where individuals witnessing a crime or accident are less likely to help, depending on the number of bystanders. The more bystanders there are, the less likely one of them will offer assistance.

35. Soviet psychology once classified "the struggle for truth and justice" as a symptom of paranoid delusional schizophrenia.

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36Gruen Transfer: Shopping Mall Confusion

Gruen Transfer: Shopping Mall Confusion

The Gruen transfer is a psychological phenomenon where a person feels lost in a shopping mall due to its intentionally complex layout. Designers deliberately create complex layouts in shopping malls to encourage more impulsive buying. This phenomenon is named after the Austrian architect Victor Gruen.

37. In 2012, Facebook secretly conducted a massive psychological experiment on its users to see if it could alter their emotional state. Unbeknownst to users, Facebook tampered with the news feeds of nearly 700,000 people, showing them an abnormally low number of either positive or negative posts. The experiment aimed to assess whether more positive or negative comments in a Facebook newsfeed would impact how the user updated their own page.

38. Maladaptive daydreaming causes someone to daydream for hours on end, creating elaborate fantasies comparable to an entire novel or movie. It is a little-known psychological concept that can replace human interaction, interfere with one's life, and be caused by childhood emotional neglect.

39. Using long words doesn't make readers think you're smart. The first psychology paper reporting on this result was called "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity."

40. In social psychology, pluralistic ignorance is a situation in which a majority of group members privately reject a norm but go along with it because they incorrectly assume that most others accept it. "No one believes, but everyone thinks that everyone believes."

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41Bank Greets: Robbery Trigger Points

Bank Greets: Robbery Trigger Points

Bank employees all greet customers when they enter a bank to eliminate psychological "trigger points" for potential robbers.

42. The "Third Man Factor" is a psychological phenomenon that can occur during traumatic experiences, where individuals report sensing an unseen presence like a guardian angel that provides comfort or support.

43. Edward Bernays, the 'Father of PR,' employed mass psychology to shape perpetually unfulfilled consumers, pioneering modern advertising techniques. In his work, Bernays aimed to link unconscious desires with mass-produced goods, influencing public behavior by keeping them distracted with trivial wants.

44. In psychology, Westerners, particularly Americans, display strikingly different behaviors from other cultures. However, as of 2013, researchers conducted almost 70% of psychological studies on Americans.

45. Repetition compulsion is a psychological phenomenon in which a person repeats a traumatic event or its circumstances over and over again. This includes reenacting the event or putting oneself in situations where the event is likely to happen again.

46Self-Handicapping: Purposely Putting Oneself at a Disadvantage

Self-Handicapping: Purposely Putting Oneself at a Disadvantage

Self-handicapping is a psychological mechanism wherein individuals purposely put themselves at a disadvantage, providing an excuse for potential failure.

47. A mother-and-daughter team, neither of whom had any formal psychology education, developed the Meyers-Briggs personality test. They studied agriculture and political science, respectively. Briggs' early interest in personality types bloomed from her attempts at fiction writing, heavily influenced by Carl Jung. Briggs was so infatuated with Jung that she even wrote erotic fiction about him.

48. Around 40 percent of Cambodians suffer psychological problems as a result of the Khmer Rouge massacre that killed a third of its population between 1975 and 1979.

49. Cute aggression is a psychological phenomenon where people react to seeing cute things with violent impulses. In experiments where participants viewed cute, funny, or normal animal photos while popping bubble wrap, those exposed to cuteness popped significantly more bubbles, suggesting an aggressive response.

50. Approximately two-thirds of findings in psychology literature may be unreliable. The Reproducibility Project, involving 270 co-authors, aimed to replicate experiments reported in 98 papers from three psychology journals. Results indicate that only 39% of replication attempts were successful based on qualitative assessments, with an even lower 36% success rate when considering statistically significant effects, pointing to potential issues of bias and publication incentives in psychological research.

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