Neural Nuggets: 44 Surprising Facts About the Human Brain

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1Annoying people

Annoying people

Our brain perceives people who annoy us as moving slower than they actually are.

2. Whenever you move your eyes quickly from one point to another point, there is a disconnect between your eyes and brain, so your perception of time stretches backward slightly. This is why, when you first look at a clock, it appears to take longer than a second to move.

3. A man named Bruce Bridgeman spent 67 years of his life stereoblind, unable to experience depth perception. It was only after having to pay for 3D glasses to watch the movie Hugo that his brain suddenly clicked and he was able to experience three-dimensional vision.

4. When you are ignored by a person whose attention means the most to you, the reaction in your brain will be similar to physical pain.

5. When you stop smoking weed, you're going to experience a huge increase in your dreams and their vividness due to your brain trying to catch up on all the missed REM sleep for the next 2-7 weeks.

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When people self-injure, e.g., cut themselves with razors, the brain immediately stops repeating painful thoughts, such as, "I am worthless and unlovable", and releases a flood of soothing endorphins.

7. A 4-second awkward-silence pause in conversation creates feelings of rejection in the brain.

8. A neuroscientist named Dr. James Fallon studying the brains of psychopathic killers scanned his own brain as a control, only to discover that he himself was a psychopath. When he told friends and family, the universal response was, "That explains a lot."

9. A pedophile had a brain tumor removed and with it, his paedophilic tendencies. When the tumor grew again in the same spot, his pedophile urges grew once more and disappeared once again after the second growth was surgically removed.

10. In 2010, a UK man named Chris Sands had chronic hiccups for 2 1/2 years and was told by doctors it was probably heartburn. A Japanese variety show picked up the story, and in the course of filming, discovered a brain tumor. The tumor was removed, his hiccups went away, and this possibly saved his life.

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11Christina Santhouse

Christina Santhouse

A girl named Christina Santhouse had half of her brain removed at age 8, grew up to earn a Master's degree and become a speech pathologist.

12. Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant who speaks 10 languages and has the rare capability to explain how his brain works. He says numbers have shape, color, and texture. According to him, 289 is ugly, 333 attractive, and pi is beautiful.

13. When you blackout from drinking, it's because of the effects that alcohol has on the hippocampus. You don't forget anything. Your brain doesn't record new memories.

14. When Rodney Dangerfield was asked how long he'd be hospitalized for brain surgery, he responded, "If all goes well, about a week. If not, about an hour and a half."

15. American speech is punctuated with "uh" & "um", English speech with "er" & "erm", Japanese with "ā", "anō", & "ēto", German with "äh", French with "euh". Basically, every language uses different sounds to interrupt themselves while their brain is working on forming thoughts into words.

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16Homeless men

Homeless men

A study found that nearly half of all homeless men had suffered a "traumatic" brain injury, with 87% having sustained the injury prior to becoming homeless.

17. Charles Whitman (Texas Tower shooter) asked to have an autopsy after his death to see what caused him to kill. After the autopsy, it was discovered that he had a tumor pressing on his brain, which could have been the reason for his shooting.

18. The family of Chris Benoit, the 40-year-old wrestler who killed his wife and son before hanging himself in 2007, consider his death a result of brain damage after tests showed years of wrestling injuries left him with the brain of an 85-year-old with an advanced form of dementia.

19. Your brain can actually create false memories and that some of those times when you believe yourself to be completely correct in something are a sign of this effect.

20. In 1988, actor Gary Busey was involved in a severe motorcycle accident. Busey, not wearing a helmet, was in a coma for 33 days. In 2008, a psychiatrist determined that the accident caused brain damage and that is why he is considered to have an eerie and bizarre persona.



We cry when we are happy because hypothalamus in our brain can't tell the difference between being happy or sad.

22. Scientists in Berlin asked adults to play Super Mario 64 over a period of 2 months for 30 minutes a day. The group showed increases of gray matter, demonstrating "the direct causal link between video gaming and a volumetric brain increase."

23. In athletics, if you move as the gun sounds, you have considered having false started - as the human brain cannot hear and process the noise of the starting gun in under 0.10 seconds.

24. The chills experienced when listening to music is a result of the brain releasing dopamine – this occurs when a piece of music moves you, or in anticipation of the peak moment during a song.

25. Solitary confinement can cause neurological damage that is so profound it can be seen on EEG-scans and "the brain may become as impaired as one that has incurred a traumatic injury".

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