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9 Interesting Psychological Facts About Ourselves

 There are actions that we all do automatically without understanding why. For example, did you notice that you often open doors for other people? Or have you ever thought about why you park your car next to another vehicle, even when there are plenty of places available? If you do these things and don’t really know why you should learn how scientists explain them and understand the logic behind the following 9 behaviors because every law or action has an interesting explanation...


1. We turn down the volume or turn the radio off in unfamiliar places


Note the following common phenomenon: When driving a familiar route the volume coming out of your radio can be high, and if people speak around you it won’t really bother you, but once you don’t know where you are or how to get where you’re going – you automatically turn down the volume or even shut off the radio, and silence all those around you. Dr. Steven Yantis, a professor in the department of psychology and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, USA, has shown that when we focus our attention on listening, we are less aware of the visual information our brain receives. In his opinion, this is why we should drive in silence anyway, that we have less of a chance of getting lost.

2. We move our hands as we speak


There isn’t a person in the world who doesn’t move their hands while talking (unless they are busy with something else) and this is perfectly normal. According to Professor Andrew Bass of Cornell University in New York, our drive to move as we speak or converse is a product of the developmental processes humanity has undergone over the years. Scientists who monitored the way the neural networks in the brain help us move and talk, connected hand movements while talking to a gesture made by a baby when spoken to.

3. We prefer to park our car close to other cars


It will sound funny to you, but if you notice, you will find that it is true and that it’s happened to you more than once. This behavior is explained by the fact that human beings are inherently social creatures, and as such we often go with the flow – the “herd” phenomenon, as it is called, means that our thought process is: “if this person parked here, it must be the best spot.” 

Rob Henderson, a research assistant at Yale University in Connecticut, analyzed studies on this subject and described several reasons for the "herd" phenomenon: the first is due to popularity. As a culture, we tend to think that things that are popular are good. When others like something, we take a “mental shortcut” as Henderson says and decide that it must be good without trying it ourselves. The second reason is that it is human instinct to stick together, it used to be key to our survival. 

4. You will rarely see two men using adjacent urinals


Public toilets are not a pleasant place to be, even if they are very clean and polished. The urge to preserve our privacy, even when we are in public, is a touchy topic, and most people don’t feel like sharing their personal space with others (unless they aren’t embarrassed, which is rare). That’s why the chances of seeing two men using the urinals closest to each other are quite small.

5. We do not take the last slice of pizza or cake


This is one of the strangest facts on this list and it contradicts quite a few studies which are used by many advertisers who market products by saying they are limited editions, or that there’s a shortage of product due to over demand. In a 2011 study, scientists Daniel A. Effron and Dale T. Miller, of Stanford University, California, examined the issue among people working in large food-supply organizations and found that the participants tended not to take the last pizza slice, the last donut or even the last piece of gum offered because they felt they did not have the right to do so.

This phenomenon is called "diffusion of entitlement" by experts - because people who see that there might be an expected deficiency of a commodity, won’t demand or consume the last item in order not to become those who create the deficiency.

6. Men prefer not to ask for directions


According to a poll published in the British media, men prefer to travel an average of 3.2 kilometers extra per month, provided they don’t have to ask for help or directions, while only 6 percent of the men said they had no problem asking for help. Psychologist Mark Goldstone tried to explain the reasons for this, and in his opinion men don’t ask for help in navigating because they fear they won’t feel masculine if they admit they made a mistake or don’t know the way, and also because they do not want to appear nervous about being lost.

This fact probably doesn’t surprise you, but ask yourself why women don’t feel that way. Turns out there are a few more traits that cause this behavior to be more common among men, the first is that they prefer to learn through trial and error rather than direct teaching. The second is that they have the drive to "beat" problems themselves, and it is certainly possible that this is a behavioral remnant that can be linked to the days of the ancient man.

7. We hold the door open for other people


From childhood we are taught to hold the door open for other people because it is polite, but is there anything else that drives us to do so apart from our desire to be nice? Scientists believe there is indeed. In an article published by Joseph Santamaria and David Rosenbaum, they made it clear that while we hold the door open for others, we reduce the collective effort of the environment - that is, the person for whom we held the door did not have to invest unnecessary energy in this action. When it comes to a single spot case its effect is nil, but when we all do it as a society, and other similar acts, we create conservation of precious and important time and energy.


8. We do not buy the most expensive products but also not the cheapest ones


At our core as human beings, we are considered rational when it comes to spending money - despite the temptations of all the latest gizmos and gadgets that make us waste unnecessary cash, we still choose our purchases according to the price and quality that suit us. This is why people prefer not to buy the most expensive goods or rather the cheapest. Another reason stems from the fact that humans aren’t stuck on “expensive = better,” while a product could be priced quite high, the quality might not be what we would want or expect.

It should be noted that it is perfectly logical behavior to choose the middle, but it is important to note that marketers are aware of this and therefore they usually display similar products next to each other with one being very expensive while the other is cheaper, in most cases customers buy the cheap product unless an intermediate product is offered, then the middle one will usually be chosen.

9. We read faster when the lines are longer, but prefer them shorter

Although we prefer to read text divided into short columns, various studies have actually found that we are able to read faster when the text covers the whole page width-wise. The common belief is that we can read faster when the text is divided into short columns, is scientifically incorrect, the truth is this is just something that is more visually pleasing.
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