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7 Psychology Facts That Sound Like Myths, But Aren

 
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tatee View Drop Down
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    Posted: Apr 20 2014 at 5:01pm

Earlier this week, we shared "10 of Psychology's Greatest Myths," which came courtesy of Scott Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn, John Ruscio, and Barry Beyerstein's compendium of 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology.

In writing the book, Lilienfeld and his co-authors sought to encourage a skeptical way of thinking. Just because something makes intuitive sense and has been repeated and repeated over decades and even centuries, doesn't mean it's backed up with scientific evidence.

"We should be especially skeptical of any sentence that begins with 'Everyone knows that...'" Lilienfeld wrote.

Sometimes, the truth can be harder to believe and less well known than fiction, he continued. To demonstrate his point, Lilienfeld concluded the book with a selection of psychological findings that are difficult to believe, but still true. Here are seven of them.

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Um...where are they?
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1 Georges Live in Georgia


According to U.S. census data, an unusually large number of people live in places with names similar to their first names.

It sounds too dumb to be true, but it is. Georges live in Georgia, Virginias live in Virginia, Louises live in Louisiana, and Dakotas live in the Dakotas.

"This effect, which is small in magnitude, appears to result from people with certain names gravitating to places with similar names," Lilienfeld explained. It potentially reflects "a form of 'implicit egotism' in which people are drawn unconsciously to people, places, and things that resemble them."


2 Stroke Patients Better at Detecting Lies


In general, people fare no better than chance at detecting whether or not somebody is lying. But patients who've suffered a stroke or brain damage to the left side of their brains and are stricken with aphasia -- a loss in language ability -- fare significantly better. In a 2000 study published in Nature, researchers found that aphasia patients could detect lies cued by facial expressions 73 percent of the time, while healthy control subjects muddled around at 50% accuracy.


3 Handshake Reveals Your Personality

Though people have been using handshakes as a proxy for gauging personality for decades, it wasn't until 2000 that psychologists (pdf) actually studied this common knowledge empirically. While science has proven to be the death knell for a great many popular pieces of wisdom, it actually substantiated this one. 112 participants shook hands with four trained coders and also took personality tests.

"A firm handshake was related positively to extraversion and emotional expressiveness and negatively to shyness and neuroticism," the researchers reported.







Edited by tatee - Apr 20 2014 at 5:05pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ModelessDiva Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 20 2014 at 5:08pm

i can see #3 handshake
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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.

Wait, what?

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 recounted.

http://www.realclearscience.com/lists/7_strange_facts_psychology/koro_is_real.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nemesis1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 20 2014 at 7:03pm
Those're interesting, especially #2. 
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