Psychology says that humans are always curious about knowing their minds better. So it’s no surprise that you’re here right now. While there are many things left to uncover and decipher – let’s start with what we do know.
These 57 psychological facts about humans are a great place to start.
Being a human on planet Earth is no easy feat. We judge each other, hurt others, and start wars because of our differences, and most of us are running the inevitable rat race. Stripped of kindness and humility – what are we to do?
The answer lies in knowledge and empathy, which is why it’s so important to consistently learn about ourselves and others. After all: “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.” – Margaret Mead.
Psst: Read these psychological facts about the human body next
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57 Psychological Facts About Humans
It’s time to discover some of the most intriguing psychological facts about humans. Let’s get into it!
1. The Pupil Increases By 45% When We Look at Someone We Love
Dilated pupils are caused by a surge of love hormones, oxytocin, and dopamine when looking at someone you’re sexually or romantically attracted to. In case you were wondering, this is where the term “googly-eyed lovers” comes from.
Related Read: Psychological facts about love.
2. You Can Uannrstd Any Msseed Up Sntanece As Lnog As the Fsirt and Lsat Lretets of Wrods Are in the Rhigt Pcales
This ability to extract meaning from words mixed up in the middle is based on our ability to infer context. Context activates certain parts of our brain, allowing us to correspond to what we expect.
3. On Average, the Mind Wanders About 30% of the Time
Daydreaming again? Don’t worry. That’s just your brain wandering once more. Mind-wandering is not such a bad thing after all – it’s our brain keeping itself occupied when it’s under the impression that not much is going on.
4. Instinctively Answering Silly Questions With Sarcasm Could Be a Sign of a Healthy Mind
Sarcasm is a sign of a healthy and highly functional brain. In order to convey a sarcastic comment, it requires you to think creatively, which, in turn, demands more cognitive effort and complex thinking.
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5. People With a Deep Sense of Guilt Can Better Identify the Emotions and Concerns of Others
Guilt may be intrinsically linked to empathy. Research shows that those who are prone to guilt respond to others with more empathy, apologize more, and have a better understanding of facial expressions.
6. It Takes the Average Human 66 Days to Develop a Daily Habit
On average, it takes about 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. However, forming a new habit depends on the person and their circumstances. This means that it can easily take anywhere from 18 to 254 days.
7. Food Always Tastes Better When Someone Else Makes It, Even If You’ve Used the Same Ingredients
The reason for this is simple: we enjoy food prepared by others because of how we feel about them. Another possibility is that when we prepare, say, a sandwich for ourselves, imagining eating it makes us less hungry when actually having it later.
Read Next: 43 Facts about French food.
8. Hearing One Negative Comment Can Damage About Five Positive Memories
Humans tend to place more focus on the negative. This means that it takes only one bad thought to hijack your mind in a way that can affect your health, relationships, and happiness.
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9. Consuming Food Without Preservatives Increases I.Q By Up to 14%
While nutritious foods increase cognitive abilities, heavily processed foods can do the opposite. Excess salt, sugar, and preservatives lower IQ and increase the risk of degenerative diseases.
10. You Have 7 Minutes of Neural Activity Before Death
Current research shows a huge surge of brain activity at the time of death, specifically in the part responsible for dreams. This might be because you’re reliving all your memories in a few minutes.
11. If You Cry Tears of Joy, the First One Will Leave From the Right Eye. In Contrast, Tears of Sorrow Leave the Left Eye First
When a person cries, and the first drop leaves the right eye, they are happy. If your tears leave the left eye first, it’s a sign of pain.
Read Next: Psychological Facts about Life
12. How People Treat Those Working in Service Industries Reveals a Lot About Their Character
Want to know if they’re the one for you? Look at how they treat service staff, like the waitresses or baristas. Being rude to these workers reveals a lack of empathy, low integrity, and self-respect.
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13. The Longest a Person Ever Lived Was for 122 Years
The maximum human lifespan is about 120 years, but some scientists believe that we could live 1,000 or more within the next few decades.
14. The Human Brain Has Decreased By 10% Since We Were Hunter-gatherers
Cranial capacity in humans decreased by about 10% in the past 10,000 years. The reason behind this is pretty simple: the shrinkage is linked to the decrease in the average human body size since smaller bodies require a smaller nervous system to service it.
15. Bilingual Individuals Unintentionally Change Their Personalities When Switching Between the Two Languages
Compound and coordinated bilinguals have different characters for every language they know. Here’s the science behind this: learning a new language takes place in the same hemisphere (right side of the brain) that is also in charge of emotional perception.
16. People Who Have Blue Rooms Are More Productive
Want to be more productive? Paint your room blue. No, seriously. The color blue profoundly improves our ability to focus, leading to more efficient work, especially if you have a fast-paced or demanding job.
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17. Humans Would Rather Warp the Truth Than Change Their Views About People
Don’t agree with someone? Well, you can always convince yourself that they’re wrong instead of admitting they’re right. Most humans tend to do this, especially those with strong views about religion, politics, and philosophy.
18. Smarter People Tend to Have Fewer Love Interests
The more selective you are, the fewer people qualify as your love interests. More intelligent individuals can also often come off as arrogant, which intimidates others and can even make them feel uncomfortable. This makes it harder for them to find love.
19. People Are More Likely to Turn in a Missing Wallet If There’s a Picture of a Child Inside
Research showed that 88% of wallets containing baby photos were returned to their original owners. Moreover, 54% of wallets with dog photos and 48% with family portraits were returned.
20. We Are Constantly Looking for Human Faces in Inanimate Objects
Known as pareidolia, humans tend to look for faces in inanimate objects like cloud formations, rocks, buildings, etc. The most famous case of this is the ‘man in the moon”.
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21. People Prefer to Have Bad Things Happen Than Not Knowing What to Expect At All
Researchers found that humans find the unknown more stressful than knowing something negative is about to happen.
22. Peeling the Paper Off Drink Bottles Could Be a Sign of Sexual Frustration
Turns out that something so seemingly innocent is now a sign of sexual frustration, according to many doctors. Many disagree and think it’s just a sign of anxiety in general. What are your thoughts?
23. People Between the Ages of 18 to 33 Have the Highest Percentage of Depression
Young adults are more depressed than anyone else on the planet. During a time when people are trying to build their lives, careers, and relationships, study, and live independently, there is a lot of stress involved.
Next Read: Psychological facts about depression
24. Being Home Alone and Isolated for a Long Time Is Equivalent to Smoking 15 Cigarettes a Day
Being alone for long periods is seriously unhealthy for the mind and body. Loneliness increases your chances of developing adverse heart conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease.
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25. Humans Who Are In a Position of Power and Influence Are Poor at Reading Others’ Emotions
This is due to the feeling of power decreasing the ability to accurately perceive what someone else is experiencing emotionally. Powerful beings have less empathy for others as they are less likely to need them.
26. A Broken Heart Can Lead to Short-Term Heart Muscle Dysfunction
The broken heart condition is also called stress cardiomyopathy, which could lead to critical, short-term heart muscle dysfunction. Fortunately, people with broken heart syndrome can quickly recover without long-lasting effects.
27. It’s Quicker to Read Longer Sentences, But People Prefer Short Lines
Humans tend to read longer sentences faster but prefer shorter, punchier lines as these are more impactful and entertaining. Or, perhaps we’re just lazy.
28. Traveling Improves Brain Well-Being and Decreases Chances of Heart Disease and Depression
Traveling helps us grow as we learn about new cultures and see new places and faces. It can help you relax, lift your mood, and lower your risk of depression.
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29. Writing Down Thoughts Helps Put the Mind at Ease
If you’re struggling to fall asleep, with constant thoughts rushing through your mind, try writing them down, and you might catch some z’s in no time. Positive affect journaling (PAJ) can help you face your anxieties and vulnerabilities, which reduces stress.
30. Plan A Will Likely Get Scrapped Once You Have a Plan B
People do not stick to plan A and would instead go with plan B because they often underestimate what they need to do. Also, humans are serial procrastinators, and they are expert self-doubters, which explains why they don’t always stick to the original plan.
31. Humans Remember Emotional Pain Way More Than Physical Pain
According to neuroscience, emotional pain is more relevant to humans than physical pain. This is caused by the amygdala, brain imaging caused by emotional events that boost memory encoding by releasing stress hormones.
32. The Maximum Number of Friendships/Close Relationships People Can Obtain Is Between 50 and 150
Some have one or two people they can call friends. Are there people out there with more than 50 friendships and relationships? Psychologists say most people have five intimate bonds (best friends, spouses, family), about 15 close friends (people you see regularly), and 50 peers (those you’d invite to your wedding).
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33. Being Sleep Deprived Can Change Your Personality
Sleep deprivation is the root of many mental and physical problems. One of the most prominent effects is how it impacts your personality since a lack of sleep results in mood changes. These include increased anger, emotional outbursts, and aggression.
Next Read: Psychological facts about sleep
34. When Someone Laughs Way Too Much and At Silly Things, It Means They’re Probably Lonely or Sad
Someone who laughs a lot more than usual may actually be depressed deep down. Helpless laughter can be a sign of mentally unsettled beings who are deeply disturbed.
35. The Sight of Water Calms and Soothes the Mind
The scenery, sound, and smell of water offer a soothing effect and promote a uniquely positive mindset. Humans are exceptionally drawn to the ocean as it sparks innovation and insight, healing us in meditative ways.
36. Memories Are Like Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces Rather Than a Photograph
Recalling the past is like putting together various fragments of a particular event rather than remembering things photographically. In a nutshell, your memory does not function like a video camera.
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37. Truman Syndrome Causes People to Think That They Live in a Reality Show
Imagine living like the Kardashians – constant cameras in your face, producers, directors, nervous interns, and bright lights all over your space. Except you’re not a reality TV star.
You’re just a normal person who believes that everyone in your life is reading from a script, and you’re constantly being watched — also known as the Truman Show Delusion.
38. The Human Brain Is More Imaginative When You’re Sleepy
Humans are more creative in the afternoons and when we’re groggy and tired. Research done by psychologist Mareike Wieth suggests that this scattered attention allows us to think more creatively.
39. Your Body’s Cells Can Hear You
Did you know that your cells can listen to you? And that your thoughts can influence the outcome of your physical state. This is because our organs’ cells can receive information from the brain and respond to it.
40. Phantom Vibration Syndrome Is a Neurological Condition That Makes You Think Your Phone Vibrated
Ever sat alone in a room, and suddenly your phone goes “bzzzp,” and you look down just to find that there’s no notification?
This is known as Phantom Vibration Syndrome, a recent (and strange) phenomenon puzzling neurologists across the globe. It refers to a false perception that your mobile device vibrates when it’s not.
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41. Being Happy Around Others Makes You Happy
Surrounding yourself with positive people can help you feel the same. A study by James H. Fowler and Nicholas A showed that your chances of happiness increase by 25% when a friend becomes happy.
42. The Music You Listen to Influences the Way You View the World
Music profoundly affects our livelihoods – it can affect our mood, energy, heart rate, and even our worldly views. Research by the University of Groningen shows that listening to sad or happy music can change what people notice.
43. Your Imagination Causes Issues That Do Not Exist
No wonder depression is referred to as the product of thought. Our thoughts influence our moods, and depression is a mood disorder. Frequent negative and unpleasant thoughts about your life result in a higher chance of developing depression.
44. If You Convince Yourself That You Slept Well, Your Mind Will Start to Believe It
You can make yourself believe that you’ve slept well, even if you haven’t. Repeating this to yourself helps you perform better regardless of the actual quality of your sleep. So, stop talking about how tired you are!
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45. Being Optimistic About the Future Can Protect You From Physical and Mental Illness
In fact, an optimistic attitude about anything in your life can help make you a happier person. Optimism makes people more resistant to stress and can even help them live longer.
46. People Who Watch Too Many Crime Shows Often Overestimate the Frequency of Crime in Real Life
Ladies, it’s well-known that bingeing those true crime stories is one of your favorite pastimes. However, this can harm the way you view reality since these scenes deliver constant reinforcement of fear and negative emotions.
47. 97% of People Write Their Own Name With a New Pen
What’s the first thing you write after opening up a new packet of pens? Your name, of course. And it turns out the majority of the population will do the same. People write whatever comes to their mind first, and nothing’s more special than writing your own name.
48. According to New Studies, Phobias May Be Memories Passed Down Through DNA
“I wonder where she got her fear of snakes from?” is now a question you ask at family get-togethers. Family studies suggest that phobias are genetic, so if one of your family members has a phobia, your chances of having the same one increase.
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49. No One Born With Blindness Has Ever Had Schizophrenia
There’s a curious link between blindness and schizophrenia that doctors have never been able to solve. What’s more, in all of medical history, there’s never been a single documented case of a blind person who also developed this mental disorder.
50. It’s Impossible to Biochemically Distinguish Between Romantic Desires and Severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is when someone experiences uncontrollable and recurring thoughts or engages in repetitive behaviors.
According to experts, falling in love can be just as intense as an obsession. Known as relationship OCD, the victims of this condition find themselves completely wrapped up in someone months after they’ve started dating.
51. We Experience Rejection as Physical Discomfort
Words can hurt you more than you know. A lot of research suggests that the brain processes rejection and physical pain in the same way. So, there’s merit to saying “the rejection was painful” after all.
52. Significantly Lower Levels of Mental Issues or Psychological Discomfort Are Associated With Religious Rituals
Religious rituals, such as prayer, are linked to happiness because they remind us that we’re part of a community that shares the same beliefs. They offer emotional support and togetherness – as you saw above, loneliness is bad for your health.
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53. People Are Happier When They’re Busy
This one makes total sense. People often distract themselves from their stressful circumstances with various forms of entertainment and hobbies.
Some throw themselves into their work, others prefer to have non-stop parties. This is because doing nothing can fill the mind with negative thoughts and concerns.
54. The Average High School Student Today Has About the Same Amount of Anxiety As the Average Psychiatric Ward Inmate In the 1950s
This psychological fact about anxiety in humans is shocking, yet it makes sense. The soaring stress in today’s society can be blamed on the horrendous job market as well as current social media pressures on appearance, status, and fame.
55. According to Human Behavioral Studies, People Experience a Fear Similar to a Near-Death Experience When Losing Their Phone
How much more dramatic can the human species get? Yip, that gut-wrenching pit on your tummy and those thoughts of “how will I recover from this” when losing your phone is eerily similar to a near-death experience.
Recent studies show that mundane experiences like misplacing a phone can affect our emotions the same as a significant traumatic event.
56. Increased Physical Exercise Delays Your Brain Aging By 10 Years
Physical exercise is one of the most significant attributes of a long, healthy life. This is so much so that a consistent workout routine can delay your brain’s aging by 10 years.
Physical activity helps keep our brains healthy by improving memory and reducing anxiety and depression.
Related Read: Psychological facts about the brain.
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57. The Human Brain Only Needs 20 Watts to Operate 100,000 Times Faster Than the World’s Fastest Supercomputer
While we’re all fearing a complete AI takeover, do not forget that the brain has a higher computational power efficiency by orders of magnitude than any existing computer. Studies also show that the brain has significantly more storage than the average computer and can develop its own complex ideas. Beat that, ChatGPT.