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Psychological Concepts

Updated on May 6, 2018
Sudhir Devapalan profile image

I am a front-end developer by profession, but I enjoy writing articles about anything mysterious, interesting, and fascinating.

Psychology is the study of human behavior. And as we all know, it’s always pretty complicated. It is sometimes quite shocking to see how humans behave when they are in a tight spot. The more we learn, the more confusing it becomes. I guess that's what makes psychology so mysterious and interesting. Here are 7 fascinating psychology concepts which are sure to fascinate you.

1. The Spotlight Effect:

Spotlight Effect
Spotlight Effect

The reason I added Spotlight effect to this list is that almost every person will be able to relate to this. Have you ever been in a situation where you had a stain on your dress and you were feeling embarrassed that each person you come across would have noticed it? Well unless you are a celebrity chances are that not many would have bothered to notice your dress. This can extend from making a mistake while delivering a speech to tripping in the middle of a crowd. Whenever we make a mistake we tend to freak out and expect that it would be noticed by everyone around us. However, this is only due to the fact that we are self-conscious of our actions and we consider ourselves as the center of everything. Little do we know that not everyone has the time or need to focus on each action we do. So next time you feel anxious about others noticing your mistakes rest easy that it’s just your mind playing tricks on you and step out of your spotlight.

2. The Placebo Effect:


The placebo effect is one of the more popular terms. This really lets us understand the power of our mind. Let us consider that there is a patient who is sick due to some illness. The doctors offer him a pill with the assurance that it would heal him completely. The patient takes the pill and sure enough recovers soon. However, the pill which the doctors provided was a 'placebo'. Essentially the placebo by itself does nothing and is useless. But since the doctors had assured the patient that the drug will heal him, he believed them and this brought out a positive reaction. No one knows exactly how the placebo works and it sometimes even works even if the patient knows that he is receiving just a placebo. It, however, teaches us a valuable lesson to have a positive mind.

3. The Mandela Effect:

Mandela Effect
Mandela Effect

There are specific cases where we remember something from the past in a certain way but in reality, they are totally different. They noticed that many people seemed to remember that Nelson Mandela had passed away in the 1980s when he died on 5th Dec 2013. Thus the name Mandela effect. This effect seems creepy making many to believe that we may have slipped into a parallel universe. There are many other cases of the Mandela effect, a few of which are mentioned below:

1. Pikachu's tail isn't black at the tip.

2. Curious George never had a tail.

3. Kit-kat doesn't have a hyphen.

4. The Queen in Snow white never said "Mirror mirror on the wall". She says, "Magic mirror on the wall".

4. Stockholm Syndrome:

Stockholm Syndrome
Stockholm Syndrome

When humans are pushed to their limits they would do anything to survive. There was a bank robbery in 1973 in Stockholm. Four hostages were taken and held for six days during the robbery. The shocking thing here was that during their captivity the hostages seemed to support the actions of their captors and even declined the efforts done by the government to rescue them. This kind of sympathy with their captors is what we call as Stockholm syndrome. Even months after this incident the rescued hostages failed to testify against the robbers and continued their loyalty. This has been noticed in various other hostage situations as well. The hostages feel that they will be killed by their captors if they do not coöperate and that their fate solely rests in their hands. Believing that escape was not possible and the acts of generosity shown by their captors to be out of genuine kindness they decide that this would be the best way to survive.

As if this wasn't crazy enough there is one more similar syndrome called the Lima Syndrome where the captors feel sympathy towards their hostages. This is derived from the events after the abduction of the Japanese Ambassador's Residence in Lima, Peru in 1996 by terrorists. The terrorists seemed to feel sympathy towards the hostages and released most of the hostages. When the final assault came they were supposed to execute the remaining the hostages but they couldn't bring themselves to kill them. This could be because the captors couldn't decide to hurt innocent civilians or didn't agree on the plan.

5. Misattribution of Arousal:

Misattribution of Arousal
Misattribution of Arousal

There was an experiment conducted on a very flimsy suspension bridge which was very high and scary to traverse across. A group of men were asked to cross this bridge and in the middle of the bridge was a woman who asked the men to fill out a questionnaire as they passed by. They were given an illustration of a woman covering her face and asked to interpret it. And as they left she gave them her number and asked them to call her if they wanted to know more about the study. The same procedure was repeated to a different group of men but this time in a more sturdy bridge. This study revealed that the men who crossed the flimsy bridge provided a more sexual representation of the woman covering her face and 50% of them called the woman taking the survey whereas only 12.5% of them from the sturdy bridge called her.

The conclusion: Since the men who crossed the flimsy bridge were under the fear of falling, they were nervous and had elevated heart rate. All the symptoms we relate to "falling in love". With their adrenaline levels high they seemed to have the illusion that they were attracted to the woman on the bridge. This can be a creaky bridge, a graveyard or even a theme park which triggers your anxiety. A nice thing to know if you plan on proposing to someone!

6. Pratfall Effect:

Pratfall Effect
Pratfall Effect

We all try to be perfect in what we do. Although it might be impossible to achieve we still try our level best to do what we can not to goof up. But do you know that being perfect is actually suboptimal in terms of attractiveness?? Enter the Pratfall Effect. If a successful person makes a mistake or is clumsy, then he will be forgiven easily and will make others like him more. People tend to sympathize with the mistakes done by a successful person. However, if the mistake is done by an average person, then his mistake is taken harshly with no sympathy. This was proved in an experiment where a person who scored 92% in an interview intentionally made a small mistake (a pratfall) in the end but was still rated to be more attractive. However, when the same mistake when done by a person who scored 30% his attractiveness was decreased. It really is a cruel world.

7. The Bystander Effect:

Bystander Effect
Bystander Effect

There are situations where we come across people who would have been in an accident and bleeding on the road or being assaulted by a robber. If there are many people already present in this scene, it is highly unlikely that we would offer them our help which is sad but true. This is due to a number of reasons such as cohesiveness and diffusion of responsibility. If we are in a group we tend to do what the group does. We are bound by this mob mentality and tend not to act differently. And since many people are involved in the incident, the responsibility of the victim is shared over a large group of people. Although people feel sympathy for the victims they are prevented from taking any action to help the person. The effect becomes worse as the number of people in the area increases.

Which concept interested you the most?

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© 2017 Random Thoughts


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    • Sudhir Devapalan profile imageAUTHOR

      Random Thoughts 

      2 years ago from Chennai, India

      Thanks for your support.. Makes it worth it to write.. :)

    • sarahspradlin profile image

      Sarah Spradlin 

      2 years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

      Love this article! Can't wait to continue following your Hubpages journey!

    • profile image

      pen promulgates 

      2 years ago

      A Good article!

    • AshutoshJoshi06 profile image

      Ashutosh Joshi 

      2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Good Read!!

      To me though, Mandela effect is utter bs. Faulty memories do exist but this is beyond that. Now folks are linking it up with the parallel universe theories and then our dear fellows from conspiracy world have linked it with LHC experiments and what not.


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