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Interesting Psychology Facts

Updated on December 30, 2013

Monkey Business

Selective Attention

Did you watch the video above? Notice anything strange? If not, watch again, and just observe without counting passes.

Did you see it?

The fact that most people don't notice anything - say, strange - when watching this the first time is due to the phenomenon of selective attention. Lilienfield's Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding defines selective attention as "process of selecting on sensory channel and ignoring or minimizing others". So as you watch the people pass the ball around, you chose to only focus on counting passes, and ended up ignoring everything else. The glory that is our attention is very limited, as I am sure you have discovered by now.

Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is perhaps one of the more frightening phenomena if experienced, especially if you do not know about it beforehand.

Have you ever been laying comfortably in your bed, on the edge of sleep, and suddenly felt you could not move? Many people report feeling a scary, perhaps devilish, presence among them.

If so, you may be relieved to know that you are only experiencing sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis occurs when you are awaking from an REM stage (the stage in which the brain is most active) of sleep before the cycle has completed, and the body is still experiencing sleep-like paralysis. Though little is known as to why people seem to continuously report those dark feelings, it can be attributed to the REM brain waves, which are characteristic of brain waves while we are fully awake.

WebMD states that sleep paralysis is a sign that you are not moving through the stages of sleep smoothly, and not an indication of a mental illness.

However, there is some question as to why people experience frightening feelings and not happy ones.

A Woman Experiencing Sleep Paralysis

Alcohol Intolerence

It is actually possible to be intolerant to alcohol. What is more interesting is that roughly 40 percent of Asians have the genetic deformity that causes the intolerance, according to Lilienfield's textbook.

The enzyme that is mutated is called aldehyde 2, a genetic deformity.

There is no cure or treatment for this intolerance, alcohol consumption simply must be avoided to avoid the effects.

However, if alcohol intolerance symptoms appear suddenly, MayoClinic states that this may be a sign of an underlying problem and should be addressed by your doctor.

Common Symptoms of Alcohol Intolerance

Facial flushing
Runny Nose
Info obtained from

Tip-of-the-Tongue (TOT) Phenomenon

This is one everyone experiences, probably on a daily basis.

The Tip-of-the-Tongue (TOT) Phenomenon is when you are trying to think of something, perhaps an actor's name, and simply cannot come up with it despite the fact that you've seen their movies a million times.

The simplest way to explain this is that your brain has good intentions, but doesn't always carry through. Your brain tries to block out all other information when you are trying to recall something specific, but unfortunately ends up blocking the information you need.

Which explains why you are able to recall the name after forgetting you are trying to remember it.

Tom Hanks! I knew it.

The Eugenics Movement

The Eugenics Movement in the United States emerged in the 1900s and increased in poularity after Intelligence Testing (IQ) was developed efficiently. IQ testing originated from France, and was adopted for American use.

People had decided that anyone who had a low IQ was to be sterilized to avoid spreading a population of "invalids", especially since immigration was on the rise.

Intermarriage in the US was also a concern for those following the movement, which pushed sterilization of immigrants.

The sad irony in IQ testing of immigrants is that they were tested in English, a language foreign to them, causing them to score poorly. Many of them were classified as mentally disabled and unfit to produce intelligent children.

This was a dark time in American history, as about 30 of US states had adopted a law requiring those, not only with low IQs, but those who were deaf, blind, deformed, etc., to be sterilized.

The Eugenics Archive states, "By 1924, approximately 3,000 people had been involuntarily sterilized in America; the vast majority (2,500) in California."

The link below offers more information of the Eugenics Movement.


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