More than a million scientific articles are published every year, with research in psychology greatly contributing to this number. While research studies in psychology are not an easy read for everybody, the obtained results can be of use in everyday life and help you to increase your motivation, become a better communicator, improve your relationships with others, and lead a healthier life.
At Smalljoys, we have collected some surprising psychological findings that can help you better understand yourself and the world around you. Look through this list to find out the secrets to having rational thought, being productive, communicating effectively, and having a good mood.
1. Self-confidence is more important than appearance.
Multiple studies show that for men, being confident and supportive is more important than being handsome, as demonstrated by women’s judgments of men’s attractiveness. In fact, couples that contain a female that is better looking than the male are more positive and supportive than the couples where the male is more handsome, or where the spouses have matching looks.
2. Men listen to women for 6 minutes only.
It is a fact: men do have selective hearing! They can listen attentively to their female partners for 6 minutes only, while this time is more than doubled to 15 minutes when they are talking to their male friends. Before you start blaming men for their lack of attention, you should know that women also pay more attention in conversations with their friends rather than with their romantic partners.
3. Writing down your thoughts reduces stress.
More than one study has demonstrated that writing about your traumatic experiences improves your emotional state, reduces anxiety, and helps you break free from a depressing life event. Anxiety-prone people who wrote about their feelings before taking an important test performed better than those who had not written anything down prior to the exam.
Another popular way to reduce stress is by eating, which isn’t a beneficial practice. Stress eating can easily get out of control and turn into binge eating, making you feel even sadder because of the guilt you often feel afterward.
4. Sing the end of a song to get it out of your head.
Very often, we get a song we don’t even like stuck in our heads. There is an easy trick to get rid of the annoyance: listen to the song until the very end to achieve a sense of closure. The reason why this helps is that the so-called “earworm” is on repetitive loop and finishing the song helps you to get rid of it.
5. Playing video games makes you the master of your dreams.
If you want to be the master of your dreams and make them more vivid and easy to control, you have to start playing video games since both video games and night dreams represent alternate realities. Another excuse to play games? You can use it to control nightmares!
6. People with car stickers are more quick-tempered.
It’s hard to believe, but people with road rage tend to have a higher number of bumper stickers on their cars, regardless of their content. People with a large number of stickers were more likely to engage in road rage, with stickers predicting angry behavior better than the car’s value or its condition.
7. Eye contact keeps a conversation going.
If you want to make a conversation go longer but don’t know what to say, ask your conversational partner a question. After you’ve heard an answer, keep looking at them without saying a word. Your partner will keep on talking to avoid silence.
8. 4 seconds make silence awkward.
Silence as brief as 4 seconds can already affect the self-esteem of interlocutors, make them feel anxious, rejected and less self-assured. Conversely, in fluid conversations, even awkward remarks might go unnoticed and do not cause disruption in a good conversational flow.
9. The color blue can increase productivity.
The color of the walls in your office can affect how productive you are. If you want a stimulating, mind energizing environment, blue is the best color for you. Combining blue with orange won’t only make you productive, but it will also make your mind and emotions more balanced. This is an ideal combination for people who do mind work all day.
10. People return found wallets if there is a baby picture in it.
Psychologists in Edinburgh who randomly “lost” 240 test wallets on different streets, found that the wallets containing a picture of a cute baby were 88% more likely to be returned to their owners. This happened more frequently than the return of the same wallet containing a picture of a happy family, an elderly couple, or a puppy. What’s the take-home message here? Think twice before deciding which photo you put in your wallet if any.
11. Speaking about your goals makes you lose motivation.
Research shows that informing other people about your intentions makes you less likely to try harder in comparison to when you keep your goals private. This effect can be explained by the fact that talking about future actions gives you a premature sense of completeness and satisfies the brain enough so that the motivation is lost completely.
12. You can convince yourself that you slept well.
The study reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that if you convince yourself that you rested well during the night, your cognitive performance will be increased, even when you haven’t actually slept well. Complaining about being tired, on the contrary, decreases your performance dramatically.
13. When uncertain, you tend to choose what’s first on the list.
This effect was termed an order effect: the first name on the ballot is going to win in one out of ten elections. The same rule applies when you pick goods from a list during online shopping: the order in which the item appears on the page turns out to be more important than the actual quality of the item.
14. Thoughts in another language are more rational.
Since thinking in a non-native language requires a lot of cognitive abilities, it makes the decision-making process slower, less biased, more reliable, and promotes analytical thinking. Try it the next time you have an important financial decision to make.
What fact surprised you the most and which one will you use in everyday life from now on? Do you know of any interesting psychological facts not mentioned in this list? Don’t hesitate to share your opinions in the comments!