Your Brain Plays Tricks on You

Colours and tastes

As it turns out, colours, as well as the contrast of colours can have an effect on how we taste certain foods. You might notice that hot chocolate tastes better when it is consumed out of an orange or cream-coloured mug. The truth is that there is no real difference in taste, but rather your brain is making you think there is.

Other ways that our brains can use colours to change how we perceive tastes include: Yellow plates making lemons smell stronger, cold drinks tasting cooler when served in cooler-coloured glasses, and food tasting sweeter when served on a pink plate.

Right-handed reach

Studies have shown that most right-handed people perceive that their right arms are approximately 1 inch longer than their left. This illusion stems from the idea that righties typically reach for objects with their right arms more than their left. The same studies also show that this illusion only exists in righties, and that lefties don’t feel like their left arms are longer. Weird.

We see our future selves as strangers

According to studies done at the University of California, when we think about ourselves in the future, our brains perceive these thoughts as if we are thinking of someone we don’t know. The procrastination today will be handled by someone else tomorrow. This is one reason why people get caught in unhealthy lifestyles.

Change blindness

Imagine looking at a photo on your phone only to get distracted by a friend for a few seconds. While you were looking away, a major change happened to the photo, but when you looked back at it, you didn’t even notice it. This phenomenon is known as change blindness. This is the result of your brain not allowing itself to not process all the information that it’s constantly receiving.

Praise is huge when it comes to decision making

In one particular study, 2 groups of people had dieted and achieved successfull results in their bodyweights. One group of people was praised, and one was ignored as far as their results went.

They were then both offered either a chocolate bar or an apple. Within the first group, which was praised for their results, 85% opted for the chocolate bar. Within the second group, only 58% opted for the tasty reward. Praise plays a huge part in our decision making, even when we don’t particularly know it. The second group, who received no praise, felt as if they needed to work harder in order to get it.

Our self-esteem changes how we view others

In one experiment, people were shown three photos of models. One was the real photo, the other was edited to make the model look chubbier, and the last was edited to make them look slimmer.

Participants were asked to find the real photo. Those who were comfortable with their bodies and appearance could easily find the original photo. Those who were self-conscious about their image typically chose an edited photo.

Your brain can’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy

There are several studies that prove this. In one study, people were asked to play the piano, while another group of people were asked to pretend to play the piano. The reaction of the brains of the 2 groups was the same. Another experiment had groups of people imagine tasty foods and then pretend to eat them. Their brains reacted as if they had actually eaten them. Insane.

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One comment

  1. Several of these leave me saying, “umm … what?”

    “You might notice that hot chocolate tastes better when it is consumed out of an orange or cream-coloured mug.” I’ve never noticed any such thing. Who says?

    Not notice changes to a picture when you look back: There’s nothing mysterious about this. So … when we look at a picture, we don’t memorize every detail of the picture, and when we look at a picture for a second time, we don’t carefully study it to verify that it is really identical. Giving this obvious fact a strange-sounding name like “change blindness” doesn’t make it any more mysterious.

    Can’t tell fantasy from reality: The fact that an experiment studying electrical patterns in the brain found similarities between two different experiences hardly proves that people can’t tell the two apart. The example of actually playing a piano versus pretending to play a piano is particularly not-interesting. Presumably people in both cases made similar motions with their arms and hands, so to the extent that the brain activity represents motor control, what else would one expect?

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