All we need sometimes is to get the facts straight. False notions surfacing on the net hinder us from seeing the bigger picture. With that being said, let’s take a look at some psychological truths which may surprise you.
Drinking Alcohol Doesn’t Kill Brain Cells
In case you haven’t already heard, engaging in your alcoholic vice isn’t as bad as you may think. Sure, it may give you that terrible hangover but it doesn’t kill brain cells. Instead, two recent studies done in Australia learned that drinking alcohol in moderation “helps the brain function better into old age, improves cognitive functioning and memory skills”. Despite how drinking doesn’t kill brain cells, drinking excessively all the time does damage the brain (hello shitty memory!) and results in serious neurological and cognitive impairment. Like everything else in this world: moderation is key. As tempting as it may seem during the post holiday season to binge drink on your vice of choice (whether it be Bailey’s or good ol’ Jack) just remember not to make it a habit or you’ll wind up being labeled as that annoying drunkard who'll be slurring their words worse than Homer Simpson.
What You Read Affects What You Dream About
Those surreal dreams you’ve been having can be related to the genre of novel you’ve been reading. A study was conducted by psychologist Dr. Mark Blagrove who asked 10,000 library users about their dreams and his results revealed how “readers of fantasy novels (aka The Lord of The Rings) have more nightmares, while those who prefer romantic novels (Love Story’s a good one) report more emotionally-intense dreams, and people who read fiction (Lolita,Invisible Monsters) are more likely to have bizarre dreams and remember them afterwards, compared with people who don't read”. So, next time you’re bothered from having a violent dream about being strapped to a chair and experiencing aversion therapy, put Kubrick’s novel “A Clockwork Orange” aside and opt for some light reading before bedtime.
Procrastination leads to creative thinking
Procrastination may seem to be the bane of our existence, but in certain circumstances, there’s a silver lining to it. A study done by Brain Bates, a psychology professor at Sussex University, reveals how “productive procrastination” gives your unconscious mind the most amount of time to come up with something . It “allows your unconscious mind to be working in the background and improve on earlier ideas you’ve had”. For instance, rather than taking the easy way out and buying your bff a hmv gift card for their birthday, let your creativity brew on the back burner for a little while. Not only will it allow you to come up with a better idea, but they’ll appreciate your effort that much more and you’ll likewise feel good about it. In the end, it’s a win/win situation.
There is No Left/Right Brain Divide.
I see countless tests online that assess which side of the brain you use more often based on your personality traits . You’re “right brained,” if you’re more creative and view things in an abstract manner . You’re “left brained,” if you’re more of a methodical and analytical thinker. Well that's straight up WRONG. Turns out, both parts of the brain don’t work separately from one another but rather work together in harmony. According to recent scientific studies performed at the University of Utah they found no evidence of “people preferentially using one side more than the other, it is the connections among all brain regions that enable humans to engage in both creativity and analytical thinking”. In other words, you can be creative as well as analytical without having to be subjected to being a “right brainer” or a left brainer."
Introvert + Extrovert = Ambivert
Turns out, everything isn’t always as black and white as you may think. Binaries can be broken down and a middle ground can make its way into the picture. In this case, that middle ground is being an ambivert : a person who carries traits of both an introvert and an extrovert. According to the notable Myers Briggs personality assessment test you either fall into being an “introvert” if you’re more reclusive and prefer to spend your time alone, or an extrovert a person whose more outgoing and enjoys the company of socializing and going out. A lot of people take these assessment tests and realize, that they may have a blend of both traits. They do enjoy their time alone to “recharge their battery” but at the same time they relish in the social atmosphere that a stimulating environment can offer. Studies have shown that most people fall into the category of being an “ambivert”, a well balanced personality type which “embodies traits from both sides of the personality spectrum”. As a result of their balanced nature, ambiverts (not extroverts) happen to be the “most successful in high performance sales jobs”. Case dismissed.
Video Games Have Multiple Health Benefits for Older Folks
Among the many stigmatizing claims made about the negative effects of video games, there are some positive benefits to video gaming as a whole. Not only do video games “improve hand eye coordination, memory and enhances quick thinking”, but they also increase “strategy and problem solving skills.” Aside from these positive factors, multiple health benefits exist for baby boomers such as “significantly decreasing the risk of depression” and “delaying dementia in men an average of 8.5 years”. So go ahead, challenge your father (or grandmother!) to a couple of rounds of Pac-Man or Mario Kart on the Wii, with their active brains and engaged state, they might just put you to shame!
Talking to Yourself Makes You Smarter
Most of us have been guilty of this one point or another. Reddened cheeks, rapid denial, and pretending to be on the phone are all the effects of a person caught talking out loud to themselves. Forget about feeling guilty and thinking you belong in the nearest asylum, that outer monologue you’re having with yourself is not only perfectly healthy behaviour but actually makes you smarter. As long as you’re not having external self hate monologues with yourself, talking outloud is a sign of good health. For starters, talking out loud helps you in decision making. When you “hear” what you think, it helps to clarify your thoughts, strengthens any decisions you’ve been contemplating and saves you from making an impulsively bad decision. Lastly, all that self talk enhances your attention span while allows you to concentrate, despite distractions . Not only is talking to yourself cathartic, but it makes you more productive.
Were you totally surprised, or did you already know about all of these? Want to see more psych factoids? Let us know in the comments below!