The human mind is an intelligent and beautiful machine that is full of complex yet fascinating psychological effects, phenomena and paradoxes. How many do you know about?
Human psychology can help us better understand how our mind works and how it affects our thoughts, decisions, emotions, perceptions, behaviors and actions, whether consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously. The more we know about the different brain-twisting and mind-boggling paradoxes, the better we will be able to control our mind and achieve personal development.
So here are 10 psychological effects that you may have never heard of, but should know about for optimal brain function –
Psychological Effects You May Not Know About:
1. Audience Effect
The audience effect is a form of social facilitation which involves the psychological tendency of an individual to perform better or worse when working in front of other people (an audience) rather than when performing alone. However, this tendency can even be observed when other people are simply present in the environment, instead of only working with them. A 2016 study explains “An audience effect arises when a participant’s behaviour changes because they believe another person is watching them.”
Social facilitation shows that we tend to perform simple tasks with more accuracy and efficiency when we are in front of an audience than alone. Conversely, we may perform poorly and ineffectively when completing a complex task in the presence of an audience than alone. This phenomenon is identified as social inhibition. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the presence of bystanders can strongly influence behavior, not just in humans but also in different animals like non-human primates, birds, fish etc.
2. Curse Of Knowledge
This is one of the most common psychological effects that most of us experience, particularly in educational and professional settings. According to a 2020 study, it is a psychological phenomenon where “an expert struggles to recreate the state of mind of a novice.” This cognitive bias takes place when we presume that someone possesses the background knowledge about a particular topic to understand when communicating with them. Also known as the curse of expertise, it is a subconscious assumption that makes it difficult for someone to properly assess the behavior of others.
This mental bias reveals that we are unable to “unlearn” or disregard what we already know. It is often experienced by teachers, trainers and other experts as they can find it hard to explain a subject to someone who lacks the same level of knowledge. The curse of knowledge can affect a person’s communication, empathy, creativity, productivity and personal growth. “Knowledge can be a curse: Once we have acquired a particular item of knowledge it tends to bias, or contaminate, our ability to reason about a less informed perspective,” explain researchers.
3. Birthday-Number Effect
Do you prefer the number of your own birthdate over other digits? If yes, then you experience the cognitive bias known as the birthday-number effect. It is a subconscious mental tendency that makes us choose the numbers in our birth date more than any other number. Originally studied by Japanese psychologists Shinobu Kitayama and Mayumi Karasawa in 1997, this is one of the psychological effects that are observed in people across the globe. However, this tendency may be influenced by your personality, gender and age.
As our birthday is fundamentally associated with our sense of self, we tend to prefer the numbers in our birthday. However, individuals who have poor self-esteem, lack self-love or hate themselves may not experience the birthday-number effect. This phenomenon is associated with another similar bias known as the name letter effect, where a person prefers the alphabetical letters in their name, especially initials, and believes that such letters or alphabets are lucky. Such mental tendencies can often affect our real-life decisions.