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FACT # 219

10 Sep

Psychology of the Brain

From tickling to tasting to decision-making, find out how the brain affects what you experience.

  1. Tickles. You can’t tickle yourself because your brain distinguished between unexpected external touch and your own touch.
  2. Imaginary playmates. A study from Australia showed that children with imaginary playmates between the ages of 3 and 9 tended to be first-born children.
  3. Reading faces. Without any words, you may be able to determine if someone is in a good mood, is feeling sad, or is angry just by reading the face. A small area in the brain called the amygdala is responsible for your ability to read someone else’s face for clues to how they are feeling.
  4. Ringing in the ears. For years, medical professionals believed that tinnitus was due to a function within the mechanics of the ear, but newer evidence shows that it is actually a function of the brain.
  5. Pain and gender. Scientists have discovered that men and women’s brains react differently to pain, which explains why they may perceive or discuss pain differently.
  6. Supertasters. There is a class of people known as supertasters who not only have more taste buds on the tongue, but whose brain is more sensitive to the tastes of foods and drinks. In fact, they can detect some flavors that others cannot.
  7. Cold. Some people are much more sensitive to cold and actually feel pain associated with cold. Research as shown that the reason is due to certain channels that send cold information to the brain.
  8. Decision-making. Women tend to take longer to make a decision, but are more likely to stick with the decision, compared to men, who are more likely to change their mind after making a decision.
  9. Exercise. Some studies indicate that while some people are naturally more active, others are naturally more inactive, which may explain why getting out and exercising is more difficult for some.
  10. Boredom. Boredom is brought on by a lack of change of stimulation, is largely a function of perception, and is connected to the innate curiosity found in humans.
  11. Physical illness. The connection between body and mind is a strong one. One estimate is that between 50-70% of visits to the doctor for physical ailments are attributed to psychological factors.
  12. Sadness and shopping. Researchers have discovered that those experiencing the blues are more willing to spend more money in an attempt to alleviate their sadness.
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