Have you ever wondered why we make the choices that we do? Although most of our actions are carried out through our conscious will, there are times when we do or feel things because of the special way that the human brain is built. Scientists are constantly discovering new facts about the way in which our brain functions, and today we have the entire scoop right here!
Read on to discover 10 awe-inspiring brain facts that will finally help you understand human behavior. Trust us, they’re going to have you shrieking “Eureka!”
1. Our Memories Are Being Altered Constantly
Although it may seem that our memories are preserved in our brains, there are times when they can be altered due to memory blackouts or actions that may have occurred in the recent past. For instance, as time goes on, your memory of the last family gathering may grow weaker. This may cause you to include or exclude people who may have been there at that time, depending on how regular they are at family gatherings.
2. We Can Only Have A Certain Number Of Friends At Any Point In Time
Although you may brag about the number of friends you may have on social media, there is only a handful of them that you actually share meaningful communication with. In fact, sociologists as well as psychologists believe that the number of people that a person can maintain a stable social relationship depends on ‘Dunbar’s number’ (1). This number is anywhere between 50-200 people, depending on your capability of maintaining social relationships.
3. We Tend To Be More Happy When Our Mind Is Occupied
The human mind does not like to stay idle. Believe it or not, you may feel happier working on a difficult assignment than doing absolutely nothing. According to a paper published by the University of Chicago, our brain releases dopamine (the hormone for happiness) every time we carry out a task as a reward for keeping it occupied (2).
4. We Tend To Remember No More Than 3-4 Things At Any Given Point In Time
According to Alan Baddeley, a professor at the University of York, the human brain can store at most 3-4 things in its memory at a given point (3). Furthermore, this memory can only last for a maximum of 30 seconds unless we keep repeating it to ourselves to refresh it in our memory. This is why bankcards have a 3 digit CVV and most numerical passcodes are 3-4 digits long.
5. We May Perceive Things In A Way That Differs From Their Physical Appearance
“You are bneig albe to raed tihs snetnece bceuase of the way in wihch yuor bairn preecievs wrods.”
If you were able to understand that sentence, it is because of the way in which your brain perceives words. We tend to read sentences a lot quicker than we can speak them due to the fact that our brain only looks for the first and last letters of a word and automatically fills in the remaining letters in a word depending on their length.
6. More Than 30% Of Our Day Goes By With Us Daydreaming
According to scientists from the University of California, depending on the task at hand, we may spend anywhere between 30%-70% of our time daydreaming (4). This does not mean that we are inefficient workers (well not completely), but it does prove that we possess a very creative mind. In fact, people who tend to daydream are excellent problem-solvers as well.
7. We Cannot Seem To Resist Danger, Food Or Sex
Food, danger, and sex are something we share in common with all other animals. Whenever we come across something new, our brain’s primitive instincts cause us to pause and ask ourselves three questions: Can I be killed by that? Is it safe to eat? Can I have mate with that?
Since these three things are essential for any animal to stay alive, we as humans, too, cannot seem to ignore them.
8. We Always Crave For More
Stop and ask yourselves a question. Would you rather go to an ice cream shop that serves three flavors of ice cream or would you go to a shop that serves more than 15 different flavors of ice cream?
Although we will most probably have only a single scoop of ice cream, we will still prefer to eat that ice cream from a shop that offers more flavors. This is because of the fact that our brain craves variety. We love to look at as many options as possible before making any decision in order to feel as satisfied as possible.
9. We Make The Majority Of Our Decisions Unconsciously
Our brain works like a computer. And as any computer, it can only process a certain amount of data at a given point in time. This means that our brain needs to delegate simple tasks such as turning off the lights or locking the door to our subconscious. Since we’re not actively processing our actions, we’re always left confused later as to wonder whether we actually did complete the tasks!
10. Multitasking Is A Lie
According to studies, the average brain cannot carry out more than one cognitive task at any given point in time (5). You can try it yourselves: try reading a short story while writing a letter to your friend – it’s impossible! Nevertheless, there are still times when we are able to multitask as long as the other tasks simply require our motor skills; for example, walking and talking at the same time.
There you have it – our top ten interesting facts about the brain that hopefully helped de-mystify this enigmatic organ. So, which fact did you find the most interesting? Let us know in the comments section below!