Psychology Facts
Psychology Facts

35 Surprising Psychology Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published December 4, 2019
  • Greek philosopher Aristotle (384–322 BC) thought that emotions originated from the heart not the brain.[8]
  • For much of the 1800s, the psychological discipline of "phrenology" was popular in the United States and Europe. Phrenologists believed that they could determine personality traits by studying the patterns of bumps on a person's head, which gave rise to the popular saying, "having one's head examined."[8]
  • Psychologists note that it is a myth that we use only 10% of our brains. In fact, we use almost all parts of our brains almost all of the time. Even during sleep, all parts of the brain show some level of activity.[8]
  • While scientific research has yet to determine the actual effectiveness of subliminal messages, companies and other organizations still use them.[8]
  • Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. It is a science because psychologists conduct research based on the scientific method.[11]
  • The word "psychology" is from the Greek word psyche (breath, soul, spirit) + logia (study of).[11]
  • Strange Psychology Facts
    The study of psychology dates back to at least Aristotle

  • Croatian humanist and Latinist Marko Marulic was the first person to use the Latin word psychologia in his book Psichiologia de ratione animae humanae in the late 15th century.[11]
  • The earliest known reference to the word "psychology" in English appears in Steven Blankaart's 1684 text The Physical Dictionary.[11]
  • The ancient Egyptian Ebers Papyrus is one of the first texts to mention the study of psychology when it describes depression and thought disorders.[11]
  • The parts of the brain controlling aggression are larger in women than in men.[17]
  • The happiness we feel when our team wins lasts longer than our sadness when we lose.[17]
  • There are over 400 distinct phobias.[6]
  • Being in love is biochemically the same as having a severe obsessive-compulsive disorder.[17]
  • Cotard's syndrome is a psychological disorder in which people feel like they are decomposing or dead.[18]
  • According to psychological studies, internet trolls are narcissistic, sadistic, and psychopathic.[17]
  • The brain processes physical pain the same way it processes rejection.[11]
  • Erotomania is a rare disorder in which someone believes that someone from a higher social status is in love with them.[17]
  • No one who was born blind has ever developed schizophrenia. However, autism is unusually common among people with congenital blindness.[1]
  • The most lethal psychiatric disorder is anorexia; between 5%–20% of sufferers will die from it.[5]
  • Comedians tend to have higher depression rates than average. Sigmund Freud hypothesized that comedians tell jokes as a kind of anxiety relief system.[4]
  • Those who live with a major depressive disorder are biologically older than people without depression. Childhood trauma aggravates this effect even more.[16]
  • Dogs and Psychology
    Just another reason to love your pooch
  • Over 80% of people feel more confident approaching an attractive person if that person has a dog with them.[7]
  • Hikikomori is a psychological disorder in which people shut themselves off from society, often staying in their houses for months. It was once thought of as a young person's condition, but sufferers are getting older and staying locked away for longer. There are at least half a million of them in Japan.[9]
  • According to the name-letter effect, people are more likely to be attracted to someone who shares their initials. For example, a man named Robert will tend to be attracted someone named Rachel or Roberta.[15]
  • People with negative initials, such as P.I.G. or A.S.S., have lower life expectancy, most likely due to psychological stress from bullying and other negative experiences.[15]
  • Boanthropy is a psychological disorder where people think they're cows.[6]
  • Over the course of just a few hours, innocent adults can be convinced that they committed a serious crime in their teenage years. They can even provide rich details and descriptions of events that never took place.[12]
  • The opposite of paranoia is pronoia. A person suffering from pronoia feels that people or entities around them are plotting to do them good.[16]
  • "Transabled" people are people who cut off their own limbs to become disabled. They do this to make themselves feel more comfortable in their own bodies.[2]
  • Wrap rage is the anger you feel when you are unable to open a package right away.[10]
  • Some psychologists view shyness as an evolutionary advantage. While braver animals may have more food and more mates, shy animals avoid attacks and live longer.[13]
  • Psychological Phobia
    The urge to jump off a bridge or veer off a cliff is actually surprisingly common
  • The "high place" phenomenon is the sudden urge to jump off of a high place, such as a bridge or the edge of a building.[3][19]
  • One 19th century aristocrat, the Duke of Portland, was so shy that he built a 15-mile-long labyrinth of tunnels under his home so that he could avoid his staff.[13]
  • When it comes to luxury brands, the ruder the sales staff, the better the sales. Psychologists note that snobbiness might help luxury brands like Louis Vuitton or Gucci create an "in-group" feel that others aspire to join.[14]
  • Having no friends is as deadly as smoking.[16]

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