5 Facts About Your Mind
The human mind is one of the wackiest aspects of existence – our brains can do some interesting and fascinating things. Have you ever wondered why people are the way they are? Understanding the human mind can help you in your logic, decision-making, and personal growth. Having a great deal of self-awareness may just make you a better decision-maker. Check out these five crazy facts about the human mind:
1 . Your Native Tongue Determines the Sounds You Can Make
Ever wonder why foreigners, even after years, have issues pronouncing certain words in English? Have you ever taken a foreign language and struggled with certain pronunciations (For me, I have never been able to produce the “rolling R” sound of Spanish, no matter how hard I’ve tried) ? In your developmental years (usually up to around fourteen), your mind allocates certain space for language. After that stage has ended, your mind stops allocating language resources and it becomes a much more daunting task to learn a new/second language fluently. The way your tongue muscles and word-processing develops is centered around your native tongue and the sounds you hear. As a trend resulting from this observation, new languages are being taught to children more and more at a younger age.
If you’re older and just started a new language, don’t fret – it’s still possible to become fluent, just markedly more difficult.
2. A Broken Heart Actually Hurts
You’ve been sick to your stomach for days now since she’s left. You can’t move, you can’t think, you feel completely sick to your stomach. Why?
A study at UCLA using an MRI noted that the regions of the brain that activate when pain occurs also activates when feeling rejection. Pain in it of itself is a sensation created by the mind to warn us of a damaging threat. For those rejected, it hits the same spot, perhaps as an evolution-developed warning. For those of us that have been dealt heart-breaking loss, this probably doesn’t come as too much of a shock.
3. Small Amount of Stress: Good. Large Amount of Stress: Bad.
Being in front of a small group of people may actually enhance overall performance. My own example is that the best workouts I have are when I go running or lifting with a friend or two. I think the amount of encouragement and the idea that someone else is watching can influence you to push yourself harder.
However, when the mind is greatly aroused (the psychology equivalent word for stress), especially in a task we aren’t confident in, we often perform overall worse. Social anxiety, performance anxiety, and realization of pressure all set in and we often psyche ourselves out. Consider getting comfortable with your talents and skills before you’re performing in front of a lot of people – the more confident you are about at task the more likely you are to not feel performance anxiety.
4. Culture Develops the Mind
I’ve been in Mexico briefly and in Canada more than once – and it’s really easy to note how different the attitudes and dispositions people have as a whole there are. As a guy that lives in the eastern half of the US, even going to places like California exemplifies the gap between west-coast and east-coast attitudes.
There have been studies on the cultural effect on the mind. People (of any race) who have grown up in Asian countries but later moved to America maintain Eastern cultural ideals – versus an Asian person who grew up in America (who develop a Western mindset). This research is actually in it’s infant stages – only in the last two decades have we really focused on how culture can develop the brain.
5. We Reconstruct Our Memories
Picture a memory from five to ten years ago. Something that particularly stands out. As you play it through your head, we have a tendency mentally to see them like film reels – as if a movie were playing out in order, never changing. What if I told you that our minds don’t really work that way?
Events that happen after a memory can affect the way we remember it. I remember breaking up with an ex – and it was a pretty intense breakup – but a few years later we bumped into each other and became friends again. To this day, she swears up and down that she initiated the breakup. There were so many discrepancies between our stories to the degree that we had to just agree to disagree on the actual facts. I don’t know what actually happened that day anymore, but it’s mind-blowing nonetheless.
We often fill in gaps in our memory in a manner that we believe they would have happened. If your friend is generally nice and you remember him being involved in a memory, your mind may fill in the gaps and remember him in a nice manner – even if he wasn’t. Just remember that someone truly believing a memory doesn’t make it exactly how it happened.
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