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Top 5 Surprising Psychology Facts

There’s nothing as fascinating as human psychology. We know that the brain has a big influence on the way we behave psychologically. But even though we use our brains every day, but we know so little about how it works. Still, science has uncovered some interesting tidbits about human psychology. See how many of the following five psychology facts take you by surprise.

1. Pygmalion Effect

The Pygmalion effect is the official term for self-fulfilling prophecy. It has to do with meeting expectations. People who are expected to do better, do better. This holds true in all kinds of environments, including the school environment. The opposite effect can happen, too. The Pygmalion effect holds true when expectations are low. If a person’s expectations are that they will fail, they will be more likely to fail. 

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2. Confirmation Bias

Did you know that you research things to validate what you already believe? This is called confirmation bias. It means that you give more weight to information that aligns with what you already think is true. It also means that you discount information that clashes with your beliefs. Oh, did you think you were a completely objective person? Nope. Unless you’re being paid to give equal weight to both sides, chances are you are guilty of confirmation bias.

3. Memory Distortion

You may think that memories are facts that stay the same. But memories can be manipulated. Let’s say you witnessed a crime. You’re questioned by a detective. The detective keeps asking if the perp had a mustache. You can’t remember, you say. The detective goes on to describe the mustache. You’re sure he didn’t have a gray mustache and a small goatee, he asks? You start to doubt yourself. You know, now that you mention it, I think he did, you say. Yes, I’m certain of it now. It’s frightening that memories can be manipulated in this way. Especially for someone who’s being accused of a crime. Yikes.

4. Bystander Effect

Bystander effect has to do with being in a crowd. The more people who are bystanders when an emergency happens, the less likely it is that any one person will actually do something about it. The reasoning is that each person assumes that either someone else is more qualified to help. Or maybe each person just thinks someone else will help. By the time people realize that no one is helping, well, it may just be too late. The next time you see something, step up, folks!

5. Fundamental Attribution Error

Fundamental attribution error is a psychology term that says that others attribute your words and actions to your personality, not to your situation. Let’s say you have an employee who comes in late almost every day. You make a judgement about him that he’s irresponsible. When you show up late the next day, you don’t think of yourself as irresponsible. You know that road construction is messing up your commute. But your employee is deemed to be irresponsible for exhibiting the same behavior as you because you attribute his actions to his personality, not on his situation, which you know nothing about.

These five psychological facts give insight into how our psyche actually works. It’s interesting that we operate on subconscious, hard-wired behaviors in so many areas of our lives.