7 Interesting Psychological Phenomena That You Probably Have Experienced
The human mind is an incredible piece of creation. On top of the many valuable tools, psychology has developed, it has provided us with the logic behind why we act the way we do. It is always entertaining to know something new about ourselves. Understanding the psychology behind our behavior is interesting to learn and provides ways to improve our behavior and be better people. Here are some common psychological phenomena that we encounter in our daily life.
The Barnum effect
Do you ever read your daily horoscope in the newspaper and notice that their prediction is strangely accurate? Or have you ever wondered how those personality tests figure out your whole personality just by asking a few questions? Psychology has answered these questions by presenting the Barnum effect. It was named after P.T. Barnum, a famous showman who used to give personality tests to people. Even though he did not have any distinguished specialization in the subject, his tests were widely praised for being ‘accurate.’ According to this effect, individuals believe that personality descriptions apply specifically to them, even though the report is actually filled with information that applies to everyone.
In other words, people like to be appreciated. They will read a general statement like ‘You are a determined person and start relating to them as if it was personalized for them. That is how you are tricked into thinking that those horoscopes are actually true. The same can be observed in the case of tarot card readers, magicians, and psychics.
The Google effect
Suppose you are reading a book and come across an unfamiliar word you don’t know its meaning, and you Google it. A few days later, you reencounter the word. The chances are that you will forget what it means. This is called the Google effect, or digital amnesia. People tend to forget information that is readily available to them digitally. We subconsciously do not commit such information in our memory because we know we can check our phone and retrieve it immediately. Another example of the Google effect can be-. You probably don’t know your best friend’s phone number.
The Pratfall effect
The word pratfall means ‘an embarrassing mistake.’ Interesting research reveals that imperfect people who make mistakes are more attractive to others than people who don’t. This is because when people who are good at something make mistakes, they become more likable and approachable. On the other hand, people who don’t make mistakes are regarded as intimidating.
We compare ourselves to other people all the time. When we compare ourselves to a better person at something, it often lowers our self-esteem or provokes jealousy. But when we know that the person makes mistakes too, we relate to them, making them easier to talk to. This can be seen when celebrities who openly make mistakes, like falling over a stage, are more fun and likable to people.
The Bystander effect
Have you ever seen videos on the internet where a person is getting beat up by someone, and many people around the scene are just watching it and not doing anything? It may anger you by watching those videos, but you would likely have reacted the same if you were one of all those people. This is called the bystander effect. Individuals are less likely to help a victim when other people are also present. This is because there is a division of responsibility- each person thinks that someone else will take the initiative of helping the victim. When a person sees that no one else is assisting the victim, they believe it is unimportant to help and just move on. There have been worse cases of the bystander effect where brutal murders have taken place in public.
Déjà Vu and Jamais Vu
You probably have heard of deja vu, and it’s meaning. Deja vu is the french for ‘already seen.’ It is the strange feeling you get when you suddenly realize that you have experienced something before, even when you know that you haven’t. Around 60-80% of the population experiences deja vu. Though there is no evident reason for this, it could be due to the theory of split perception. This means that you are seeing the same thing two times. The first time you see it, you are distracted by something else, but your mind takes it in. Then, when you see it for the second time, you actually perceive the object; you get deja vu.
The opposite of Deja Vu, Jamais Vu, also exists. It happens when a person fails to recall something that has already happened and feels weird about why they cannot remember it. Again, though, the cases of jamais vu are much rarer than deja vu.
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
Consider a situation: you come across a new word while reading a book. You encounter the same word more frequently in many places in the coming days. You had never heard of it until a few days ago, now appeared to be everywhere since you saw it. This is called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon or frequency illusion. When you notice something for the first time, you begin to notice it much more often since then. It could be a word, a song, a breed of dog, a particular style of architecture, or just about anything. It may be hard to accept that there is no increase in occurrence. The only difference is that you have started to notice it now.
It happens because this information is fresh and new, and your mind is unconsciously on the lookout for it. Our mind only pays attention to selective details around us. This also explains why you overlooked this information before. The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is very common.