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10 Strange Things Psychologists Say Happen To Us

Updated on April 28, 2016

10. Memory construcion

Memory is a tricky thing. Creation of "memories", things that never happened, things that are merely inventions of our imagination, is one of the many creepy phenomena that happen to the human mind. We often forget information we’d prefer to remember and sometimes “remember” experiences we never had or information we never encountered. The creation of false memories was first studied by French psychologist Pierre Janet and flawed genius Dr. Sigmund Freud. Studies have shown that creation of these false memories, in varying degrees, is a common phenomenon. We reconstruct elements and episodes every time we mentally visit our old schools. Due to the unreliability of memories, it is often that eyewitness testimonies are not taken into account.In the 1970s, thousands of women during therapy sessions suddenly had “recovered memories” of horrible sexual abuse and satanic rituals while children. These “memories” led many to bring legal charges against their parents and other relatives, thus shattering families.

9. Brain fog

We may guess by the term what this phenomenon implies. Like any other thing fog shrouds, "brain fog" denotes metaphorically clouding of consciousness or awareness : temporary impairment of mental clarity. As a clinical condition, brain fog is not uncommon, for it affects thousands of children and adults universally. While it is less severe than delirium, it does induce an uneasy, hazy, confused state in our minds. An interesting theory that seeks to address the primary cause of brain fog proposes that high levels of toxic chemicals we are daily exposed to, in forms so ordinary as plastic materials and inks, affect brain function in some of us. If you are sensitive to food chemicals, it will be unsurprising that you may suffer mental clouding. Other causes of this condition, as speculated by psychologists and neurologists, are reduced oxygen to the brain, excessive sweating during workout, exhaustion from schoolwork, chiropractic imbalances and emotional turmoil.

8. Dreams of absent-minded transgression

DAMT are dreams involving the dreamer absent-mindedly performing some action that they have been trying to quit. This is obviously a common phenomenon, and the most common examples include people who have been trying to quit drinking or smoking dreaming about pouring themselves alcohol and lighting cigarettes, respectively. Upon waking from these dreams, individuals have reported feelings of intense guilt and shame. A study has established a positive correlation between dreams of absent-minded transgression and successfully quitting the action that one dreams of performing.Preoccupation with the action in question is the apparent reason behind these dreams.DAMT are rated as being more vivid by people who have had them. A study has shown that of smokers who had been abstaining for a year, fully 63% recalled dreams about smoking.It is ordinary, as such, for us to have DAMT if we have been consciously trying to abstain from performing one action or other.

7. Hypnic jerk

We have almost all woken up abruptly as we had started to fall asleep, from a sensation as though we were “falling”.A hypnic jerk causes us to jolt awake while we are falling asleep. Referred to variously as night starts, sleep starts, hypnic jerk, this is a hypnagogic state of consciousness (‘Hypnic’ is short for ‘hypnagogic’). A hypnic jerk is the involuntary twitching of a muscle (or muscles) leading to sudden waking from sleep due to a dramatic “falling” sensation. While psychologists have examined it as a peculiar psychological phenomenon that occurs as we are midway between wakefulness and sleep, the causes of the hypnic jerk are yet to be confirmed. However, studies have revealed that alcohol, caffeine and heavy exercise after noontime contribute to the occurrence of hypnic jerks among other sleep disturbances.One poll has revealed that 34% volunteers experience the hypnic jerk every day, while 41.73% are “slammed awake” by the jerk at least a couple of times a week.

6.Freudian slip

The unconscious mind is the realm of hidden impulses, urges and drives that we are not consciously aware of. This level of the mind (portrayed metaphorically by the submerged part of the iceberg) has held the attention of psychopathologists and psychologists for centuries. A Freudian slip is an unintentional error in speech regarded as revealing unconscious/subconscious feelings. The term owes its origin to Sigmund Freud, founder of the classic psychotherapy of psychoanalysis. Freud believed that besides dreams (which he considered the “royal gateway to unconsciousness”), the Freudian slip allows insight into a person’s unconscious emotions and motives.Objectionable impulses and urges of the id are checked by the ego (reason) and superego (moral constraints). Freudian slips are those accidental slips of the tongue that have “gotten by” the ego or superego.These may often prove inconvenient, as we may reason from the example of an individual who goes, “She was tempting… I mean attempting to…” Freud would say the word “tempting” reveals an unacceptable sexual impulse. Calling a partner by the wrong name is the most common Freudian slip that betrays secrets of the unconscious mind.

5. Depersonalization

Have you ever felt like you are an actor in a dream or movie, disconnected from your body? Probably so. Depersonalization is characterized by feelings of watching oneself from a third person’s perspective (“from outside of one’s own body”) and detachment from one’s own self. We may think our thoughts and actions are not our own, or that we are not able to control the things we are doing and feeling. Research shows that up to 50% of adults experience depersonalization at some point in their lives. Though harmless, this is a distressing experience, and may lead to depersonalization disorder if frequent and long-lasting. Scientists are working on figuring the precise causes of this bizarre phenomenon, though vaguely, imbalances in brain chemicals trigger this feeling of watching ourselves from a distance. Chronic depersonalization is likely to engender severe depression and/or anxiety disorders as listed in DSM V. Normally, alcohol is believed to induce a state of depersonalization.

4. Derealization

Reverse of depersonalization, derealization is a perceptual disturbance characterized by an impression that one’s surroundings are unreal. Unlike depersonalization wherein feelings of unreality are based on one’s sense of self, an individual who is experiencing derealization perceives their environment as having no firm basis in reality. A dreamlike state, one that suggests our outer world is illusory, sums up this weird phenomenon. We view the outside world as being so distant that unfamiliarity is generated, and familiar persons and places seem to be alien. Like depersonalization, this uncanny state is believed to be brought about by imbalances in various neurotransmitters of the brain, specifically occipital–temporal dysfunction. Common among young adults, excessive consumption of alcohol (as in the case of depersonalization), caffeine and nicotine are believed to trigger a state of detachment from external reality. The unfortunate effects of derealization, naturally, are interference with routine activities and problems in interpersonal relations.

3. Animus and anima

According to Carl Jung, talented dissident of Freud, every man develops a feminine side to his psyche (anima), just as every woman develops a masculine side to her personality (animus). The anima is defined as the totality of the unconscious feminine qualities possessed by a man; likewise, the animus refers to the unconscious masculine qualities of a woman. Psychologists suggest that we are androgynous, meaning we have both male and female traits. This gives strength to Jung’s theory of animus and anima. The male’s anima is associated with traits like commitment and fidelity, love and compassion, gentleness, sentimentality and intuition, while the female’s animus includes decisiveness, assertiveness, focus and ambition. Jung believed that in looking for a mate, we search for the person onto whom we can best project these hidden sides of our personality. When there is a good match between such projections, attraction occurs. What we like about our partner, come to think of it, represents the traits and qualities of our own anima or animus, depending on whether we are male or female.

2. Existential crisis

Psychologists describe existential crisis as “existential anxiety”. We have almost all of us lived a moment in our lives when we questioned whether our life had meaning or purpose, whether we feel at one with the universe – some of us are still doing. We may be living routine life, treading our own paths, chasing our dreams, yet rather strangely we often stop and wonder why we are here, why we are doing what we do. This is the existential crisis. Often it turns obsessive, which when it does, calls for “help”. The existential crisis is a freakish phenomenon to occur, especially in the lives of those who have not distanced themselves from the stir of human society, like you or I. Neo-Freudian Erik Erikson’s stage theory of psychosocial development includes integrity vs. despair (the last stage), when individuals ask themselves whether they have lived meaningful lives. If they can answer yes, they attain a sense of integrity. If they answer no, they experience despair.

1. Oedipus complex

Intense jealousy of the same-sex parent and powerful sexual attraction to our opposite-sex parent at one phase in our lives is probably the most absurd psychological phenomenon there was. At about age four in Freud’s psychosexual stages of development (the phallic stage), the genitals become the primary source of pleasure. Our sex-obsessed genius, Dr. Freud, speculated that at this time, every one of us fantasize about sex with our opposite-sex parent. This phenomenon is called the Oedipus complex in boys and Electra complex in girls. We borrow the terms from ancient Greek literature, wherein a character called Oedipus killed his father and then married his mother; likewise, Electra persuaded her brother to kill their mother, and married her father. The Oedipus and Electra complex are characterized by boys and girls viewing their fathers and mothers as rivals, respectively. As we move on to the latency and then genital stages, we as children gradually overcome our attraction to our opposite-sex parent, and come to see our same-sex parent as a model, eventually identifying with them.


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