4 Need a Laugh? Hold a Pencil in Your Teeth
If you find yourself feeling blue and in need of a laugh, plop
yourself down on the couch and switch on your favorite comedy. Oh, and
grab a pencil and hold it between your teeth.
In 1988, psychologists found that subjects who held a pencil in their
teeth while watching cartoons found them funnier than subjects who held
a pencil with their lips. Why? Because holding a pencil with your teeth
forces your mouth into a smiling position, while holding a pencil in
your lips makes you frown. The ingenious study lent support to the facial feedback hypothesis, which states that facial movement can influence our emotions.
5 Our Brains Are Gigantic Highways
Packed within the 1.4-kilogram
human brain are roughly 86 billion neurons. And these are connected by a neural highway so long it's hard to fathom.
"Our brains contain about 3 million miles of neural connections, that
is, connections among brain cells," Lilienfeld wrote. "If lined up next
to each other, these connections would stretch to the moon and back
about 12 times."
6 Pigeons Can Be Art Critics
Animal psychologists have trained pigeons to distinguish between a Monet and a Picasso
First, scientists presented the birds with color slides of paintings,
then, in a later examination, tested the birds with complete works of
art that they had never seen. Amazingly, they discriminated between the
two artists with flying colors.
Not to be outdone, goldfish have demonstrated the ability to distinguish the orchestral works of Bach and Stravinsky.
7 Genital Retraction Syndrome Is Real
Most common in Asian countries, genital retraction syndrome
-- commonly known as "koro" -- is a condition in which the afflicted
believes that his or her genitals are shrinking. Koro almost entirely
affects men, and is a contagious form of mass hysteria
. Outbreaks can affect thousands of people.
"In one area of India in 1982, government officials took to the
streets with loudspeakers to reassure hysterical citizens that their
genitals weren't vanishing. These officials even measured male citizen's
penises with rulers to prove their fears unfounded," Lilienfeld