Bright Side

10 Things That Seem to Help Us Enjoy Life More, but It’s All a Big Trick

We all remember Aesop’s story called The Shepherd’s Boy and the Wolf, also known as The Boy Who Cried Wolf. In this fable, the main character kept jokingly yelling “Wolf! Wolf!” and when the predator actually showed up, the peasants didn’t believe him. This is a good example of a mental model — an assessment or strategy based on previous experience. Usually, these established views help us to make rational decisions, but sometimes they can be outdated or even false.

Bright Side spotted things that were intentionally made to match our mental models, otherwise, people like the peasants from the fable won’t believe in the wolf. At the end of the article, we will finally reveal the secret to easily stopping the hiccups.


You’d probably agree that the earphones that cost you a fortune, but that can’t be felt in your hands, might cause some doubts about whether they were made from cheap materials and about their fragility. That’s why manufacturers might deliberately weigh them down with metal parts that have no function whatsoever and that could be replaced with lighter ones without compromising on quality. The heavier weight is required to make us believe that they are durable and reliable.


Initially, toothpaste contained only abrasive components like coal and later fluoride and medicinal components, like herbal extracts, were added. Thanks to marketing, today it contains flavors, sweeteners, and foaming agents that have little to do with either preventive or curative measures, but that still create a feeling of cleanliness and freshness. Without all these things, people will simply not believe that it is effective.


Actually, ATMs count money much faster and are ready to take or withdraw your funds almost instantly. However, many people don’t know how these devices work and don’t believe that this super-fast working machine is as accurate as the current ones. Manufacturers simply decided to add some extra latency and recorded counting sounds to make us trust ATMs more.

Professional services

Some specialists have to do their work slower so that their clients don’t complain about the overpricing and quality of their services. A beginner, who might take a long time to try to fix your issue and eventually resolve it, will likely get sincere gratitude, while an expert who has already seen hundreds of cases like yours and who can fix the issue within several minutes, can easily be blamed for charging too much.

Loading process on sites

People who are far from the IT-sphere can’t always believe that many sites are capable of saving and loading data immediately. That’s the reason why many of them show you the loading bar or the hourglass sign. It gives the users’ actions some weight and outlines that they are using complex algorithms. For example, after each action you perform in Google Docs, the sign “Saving” appears for a few seconds, however, in reality, the saving process takes milliseconds, not seconds.

Air fresheners

Your air freshener doesn’t actually have to smell like ice breeze or daffodil fields to eliminate unpleasant odors. For example, when Febreze air fresheners appeared on the market, they did their job well but their sales suffered because people couldn’t feel the difference in smells and hence didn’t believe in its effectiveness. After the marketers added a pleasant scent to it, the sales increased instantly.

Instant cake mixes

When cake mixes appeared, it was enough to simply combine them with water. But people felt guilty that they were playing such a small part in the cooking process, so they didn’t buy those mixes. Today’s instructions say that apart from the water, you also need to add milk, eggs, and even flour, however, all of these could’ve been a part of the initial mix. This makes the result seem more home-made and dependent on the person’s contributions.

Vehicle sounds

Every sound in a car, from the slamming doors to the roar of the engine, determines its success in the market. Customers assess these sounds and judge the reliability and power of a vehicle according to them — however, this is actually the result of a sound engineers’ work. These are special people who carefully debug every detail so that it sounds the way the consumer wants it to sound.

The doors can be made soundless and able to shut with a slight touch, but if we don’t slam the door and hear the distinctive sound, we won’t feel safe. The engine could be soundless too, but people basically like for it to roar or murmur. No one likes silence.

Close door buttons in elevators

Of course, this all depends on the country and the certain elevator, but you might have already noticed that the elevator doors don’t close fast after pressing the “close door” button. The reason is that they simply don’t work. It’s only there to make us feel a placebo effect and help us to not panic when we are late and are waiting for the doors to close automatically.

Products with GMOs and monosodium glutamate

The placebo effect actually has the opposite effect — and it’s called the nocebo effect. There is no evidence to indicate that monosodium glutamate or GMOs harm you, but many people still claim that these elements have caused them many health issues. This means there are no chemicals in these products that provoke negative symptoms, but some internal human attitudes make them feel it. In order to keep everyone satisfied and to not lose customers, many manufacturers add appropriate labels to their products, even if GMOs and MSG are not supposed to be there logically.

Bonus: Hiccups

Hiccups are a reflex contraction of the diaphragm, which most often occurs from having a large amount of air in the stomach. But if the first several contractions are a reflex, the signals for other contractions are given by the brain. They cause some discomfort and that’s why people have tried to come up with many ways to treat them, but none of these remedies work for everyone, every time. Why? Because they all only have an impact on the subconscious, not on the diaphragm. To put it simply, if we assure ourselves that we’ve stopped hiccups, we can really stop them.

Do you think people really need all these tricks or do you think we’d better become realists?