13 Human Peculiarities Scientists Continue to Rack Their Brains About
Human behavior can be very complicated and sometimes unexplainable. We often can't understand each other or even ourselves and our own actions. Why do we tend to laugh in serious situations and why are we attracted to crazy people?
Bright Side has collected some very interesting scientific explanations for odd human behavior that will help us to better understand ourselves and others.
13. People lie less in the morning.
Everybody lies...right? It appears that people tend to lie more in the afternoon than in the morning. Scientists claim that our tendency to be honest decreases during the day, especially if we're speaking to really honest people.
People who are prone to misbehaving will lie regardless of time. Honest people with a strong moral conscience and good self-control get tired at night and their honesty level decreases. This is why specialists recommend that people have important meetings in the first half of the day rather than in the afternoon.
12. Haptic sensations influence our behavior.
Haptic sensations can influence our behavior. We can experience feelings of importance and confidence or fear and weakness depending on what our body literally feels.
Thus, if a person is sitting on a hard chair, they often become more pliable. If a person touches something cold, they feel lonely; if they touch something rough, they start thinking about complicated relationships between people.
Specialists claim that if you want to pass a job interview and give the impression that you're a serious person, it's wise to carry your resume in a heavy folder.
11. Washing your hands reduces doubt.
Washing your hands contributes to both physical and moral "cleanliness". When we wash our hands, any doubts we have or self-blame for bad decisions are washed away with water.
For most people, it's challenging to make decisions and we tend to hesitate a lot. Thus, when we buy a blouse with pearl buttons, we notice a more attractive blouse without buttons and question our decision.
Psychologists from the University of Michigan assume that our brains treat washing hands as a way to free ourselves and have a chance at a new beginning, caring less about past mistakes.
10. Silence causes awkwardness.
Scientists found out that 4 seconds is all it takes for silence to become awkward. It's connected with our primal fear of wanting to belong to a social group and feel accepted.
If everyone keeps silent, we start feeling self-doubt and get scared that out social status has become unstable. Conversely, if the conversation is quite lively, we feel needed.
Psychologists don't recommend adding pauses to a conversation. It's better to figure out why everyone's keeping silent. Your question may cause disagreement or you may find out that your friend or colleague is just in a hurry.
9. Many people twitch while falling asleep.
According to studies, 60% - 70% of people twitch while falling asleep. Scientists assume that such hypnagogic jerks (involuntary muscle spasms) are induced by stress, anxiety, fatigue, caffeine, or intense physical activity. Another theory claims that spasms occur when a person is drifting off to sleep because our nerves just get puzzled.
There's one more popular theory that's based on an evolutionary theory. Our ancestors used to sleep in the trees and when they started falling asleep, the brain sent signals to the nervous system so as not to let them fall down.
Twitching while falling asleep is a normal thing. To sleep better, find some time to walk, read a book, or meditate before bedtime.
8. Wrinkly fingers and toes
Different studies show that wrinkly fingers improve our grip on wet or submerged objects. Scientists assume that wrinkled fingers could have helped our ancestors to gather food from wet vegetation or streams. The analogous effect in the toes could have helped us to have better footing in the rain.
The distinctive wrinkling on our fingers and toes is caused by blood vessels constricting below the skin.
7. Inappropriate laughter shows our helplessness.
Sometimes people can't help but laugh at inappropriate times. This laughter has nothing in common with the kind that is related to having a sense of humor. Laughter is a social emotion that brings people together. It can just be an attempt to maintain good relationships. Inappropriate laughter usually reveals our helplessness and emotional tension.
If a person can't help laughing after a funeral or an accident, it doesn't mean they're cold. It's just a symptom of stress. Our bodies are trying to relieve pain with the help of laughter.
Scientists think that our ability to understand the reasons for laughter develops slowly over the course of our lives and may not peak until our late 30s.
6. People like psychopaths.
Psychopaths are people who don't care about social norms, they're aggressive, cruel, and impulsive, and they can't empathize with people around them. Nevertheless, they grab our attention! If we watch a movie, we're likely to sympathize with psychopathic heroes.
According to one theory, we like to step outside of our law-abiding shoes every once in a while and experience something new. Another theory claims that psychopaths are a form of predator. They awaken our animalistic instincts and connect us to our inner animal and we experience no danger.
It's very difficult to identify a psychopath because they hide behind a charming mask. But there's one feature that can extradite them: because of their lack of empathy, they don't yawn after someone else does.
5. Gossip helps us avoid danger.
Sometimes we can't help discussing our colleagues or a person we don't know well and we feel ashamed of this. Believe it or not, it seems that gossip was very important in ancient times. Recent studies show that gossip had a good influence on both speakers and listeners and played a crucial social role: it warned people about oncoming danger.
Scientists think that gossip is just a peculiar way to receive information. Gossip helps us understand who our friends and foes are. In primitive times, people lived in small groups and had to know who their potential rivals and offenders were. And gossip was the easiest way to figure that out.
Nowadays, gossip is just another form of entertainment. Just be sure to think twice before gossiping and remember that it may hurt someone's feelings.
4. Moving our eyes helps us remember things.
When we try to recall something, we move our eyes in a certain pattern. Researchers noticed that elderly people use their eyes more often when they want to remember information.
When we try to recall something, we move our eyes in the same pattern that we move when we try to hold the information in mind. But some scientists can't agree with this theory. They claim that when you try to recall something, you just look away to focus your attention on the problem.
Whatever the reason, moving our eyes really helps us to restore important information.
3. People avoid swapping the toilet paper roll.
We're likely to complete difficult tasks before we'd ever swap out a toilet paper roll. Scientists suppose that it's all about motivation. We do something if we consider it interesting and challenging or if we want to achieve certain results.
We'll have an urge to deal with a task if it satisfies 3 psychological needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. And there's nothing significant about changing the toilet paper roll.
Personal effectiveness specialist, Brian Tracy, recommends starting the day with unpleasant tasks or as he calls them, "frogs." Tracy claims that if you "eat the frog" in the morning, your day will be just fine.
2. Cuteness motivates our caretaking behavior.
Lots of people think that small kids are really cute and the reason for that is quite simple: evolution. Children are born extremely helpless and parents have to take care of them for years. To keep our attention, our brains give us feelings of care and affection.
Scientist Konrad Lorenz defined the term, "baby schema" which includes several physical features: big eyes, plump cheeks, and a big head.
"Baby schema" works with baby animals too. That's why we like to post adorable kitten photos on the Internet.
1. Goosebumps are a defense mechanism from the past.
Psychologist George Bubenik from the University of Guelph in Ontario explains that goosebumps are a physiological phenomenon inherited from our animal ancestors. Goosebumps may have been useful to them but they're of no help to us.
These bumps are caused by a contraction of tiny muscles that are attached to every single hair on our skin. The contraction causes our hair to stand up whenever our body feels cold. People also tend to experience goosebumps during emotional situations.
The reason for this response is from a subconscious release of the stress hormone, adrenaline.
Do you know of any other weird human features that you can't explain? Share your thoughts with us!