10 Curious Psychological Games Our Mind Likes to Play With Us

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We’re used to thinking we are masters of our own minds and bodies — after all, who else, if not us? However, our mind is an intricate and complex thing whose many secrets have yet to be discovered. And what’s more, it can manipulate us when we least expect it. For example, if we’re hesitant about starting a new and unfamiliar job, the good news is, this means we’re more likely to succeed.

We at Bright Side are always interested in new research and things about humanity that we can share with our readers, so today we’ve collected 10 peculiar mind games our psyche is playing on us without us knowing.

10. Halo Effect

This is a well known effect that advertisers largely use — behind it is the idea that a person will easily make a decision about a product based on the persona who represents it. This is why we have a ton of supermodels and actresses being the “face” of makeup or clothing lines. We tend to think that famous people have a certain “I can do no wrong” halo around themselves and we subconsciously transfer this onto the product they are representing. In general, the public is way easier on famous people when it comes to crimes or mishaps, never punishing them as harshly as it would the regular folk.

9. Bystander Effect

This is kind of a sad one — while being in a crowd of people, one person is less likely to help somebody in need because we subconsciously think that someone else will do it. Years ago, experiments on this effect were conducted and they revealed that once one person in the crowd was ready to help — others would follow. But the main thing was to find a “hero” to start the movement.

8. Spotlight Effect

Have you ever caught yourself thinking over and over about what kind of impression you’ve made? Like, were you too clumsy or did you wear the right outfit to a party? This is called the Spotlight effect — literally thinking that the spotlight is on us at all times and any faux pas would be immediately noticed by others. This type of thinking tricks our mind into believing that our every step will be judged and examined by other people, when, in reality, this mental exaggeration is far from true.

7. Online Disinhibition Effect

Mass media has contributed largely to the effect that’s behind online trolls and cyberbullying. On the internet, where we might use an alias, we have a tendency to be more cruel, judgemental, and harsh than we would ever be in real life. It’s much easier than doing it face to face, and not everybody can resist the temptation of displaying their anger instead of being composed and polite.

6. Cheerleader Effect

Aren’t cheerleaders gorgeous? Well, actually, not every one of them is exceptionally beautiful, it’s the “cheerleader effect” that’s helping their PR tremendously. So much so, that it was named after them. The essence of the effect is this — one person seems more beautiful, when surrounded by a group of attractive friends — it’s also known as the “group attractiveness effect.” This happens because your brain actually calculates the “average attractiveness level” in a group.

5. Dunning-Kruger Effect

This is a peculiar one. Have you ever seen a person who’s a beginner in their field already experiencing tremendous success or, on the other hand, a professional in their field that has struggled for years and never been successful? The Dunning-Kruger effect explains how beginners in any field are more likely to have a breakthrough because they are less familiar with the boundaries and regulations that the professionals know everything about.

4. Déjà Vu

Most of you know this French term which literally means “already seen.” Deja vu is a notion of feeling like you’ve already lived through a situation that’s happening to you in real time. Before psychology gave this a name, Deja vu made people think that they were having a psychic experience for the first time, like they were having a prophecy. Psychology still doesn’t have the answer to what triggers these feelings and Deja vu remains to be an unsolved phenomena.

3. Google Effect

Google has been around for so long that it has largely contributed to the effect of forgetting something easily, especially if we think we can quickly find it online. That’s why this effect was named after Google.

2. Pareidolia

Tapping into our Latin words here, pareidolia is an effect that makes us see familiar things in in unfamiliar or unlikely places — like this swing resembling Raphael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or this tangerine (below) resembling a Spiderman poster.

If you see the similarities between these pictures, that’s pareidolia.

1. Broken Escalator Phenomenon

This one tricks our physical feelings — basically it’s when we expect something to happen, but it doesn’t. This one is most apparent in scenarios like when we expect one last step when walking down the stairs and it’s not there, or when we step onto a broken escalator, and it doesnt move. Our body feels a little nauseous or we feel like we are tripping over our own feet — which is exactly what “broken escalator phenomenon” is.

Ever experienced any of these phenomena yourself? Try recalling when you last fell for one your mind’s traps and share this occurrence with us in the comments.

Preview photo credit Vik92/imgur


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