How much do you know about yourself? You probably know about your body anatomy, but did you know that the scientific name of the thumb is “pollex” and the scientific name of the toe is “hallux?” Human psychology is a complex topic that gives researchers and scientists sleepless nights trying to understand every bit of it. And one thing remains certain, we will never understand ourselves in one day, but here are ten facts about you that you probably never knew.
1. People see their faces as being more physically attractive than they are.
Self-enhancement is one of the facts about yourself that will blow your mind. According to research, people tend to think more highly of themselves than they do of others. The reason for this condition is the nature of self-enhancement to boost their self-esteem. Technically, another person will correctly describe you better than you would describe yourself. In a bid to debunk “Dove Really Beauty Sketches,” a video that went viral, a team of researchers conducted psychological research to determine the level of self-enhancement. Original photos of the research participants were taken and edited.
The participants were then asked to pick their original picture from a group of edited and original images given to them. Surprisingly, the participants chose the beautifully edited photo and ignored the unedited photo. They were then asked to pick an original photo of a stranger from the set of images presented to them. And without hesitation, they correctly picked the unedited picture of the stranger. The researchers concluded that people think more highly of themselves than they do of others.
However, self-enhancement is not considered a lie because the person describes themselves as who they truly believe they are. The good thing, though, about self-enhancement is that it boosts confidence and determines how to choose leaders and partners. Watch out the next time you want to describe yourself to someone because the other person may describe you otherwise. (1, 2)
2. An “eyebrow flash” is an unconscious gesture, wherein a person wishing to approach another whom they recognize and are preparing for social contact raises their eyebrows for approximately a fifth of a second. People generally return an eyebrow flash, unless it was given by someone whom they do not know.
You’ve probably unknowingly eyebrow-flashed people uncountable times. An eyebrow flash is a social signal used as a body gesture by people. It happens mostly between people who know each other. The flash takes three stages and lasts for only about one-fifth of a second. The three steps are the onset when the eyebrows raise to the maximum, the apex which is the time the brows remain at that maximum height, and the offset when the eyebrows return to their initial state. This spontaneous facial expression, at most times, signals an acknowledgment or fear.
Research showed that senders and receivers of eyebrow flashes differ in cultures and convey different messages. Children raise their eyebrows when they are looking for something or trying to make eye contact with an adult. In some cultures like the American culture, it breaks the eye contact rule. In Europe, the eyebrow flashes signal disagreement. (1, 2, 3)
3. Your heart rate increases about a minute before partaking in exercise. It is known as the “anticipatory rise” and happens involuntarily.
Shortly before an exercise, the brain acts involuntarily by sending signals to the heart in the form of hormones. Some of these hormones are adrenaline. This vital chemical will trigger the heart to change from parasympathetic mode to sympathetic mode causing a slight increase in the heart rate. The amount of blood pumped out per minute will increase which is vital for the body during the exercise. Also, the heart will redirect more blood to the body part that will need it the most during the exercise. The anticipatory rise will help circulate more oxygen into the muscles and take the carbon dioxide from them to the lungs.
According to research, the anticipatory rise plays a significant role in preparing you to efficiently and quickly adapt to the exercise. The heart rate will increase during the workout and drops after the training. (1, 2)
4. You mostly breathe out of one nostril at a time, and the “dominant” nostril switches every hour or so.
Did you know that you heavily breathe in and out from one nostril? Technically, your nostrils take turns when it comes to taking in air. When you block one of your nostrils using your finger and breathe with the other, you will realize that breathing is just as easy using only one of the nostrils. In science, this is called a “nasal cycle” You may not know it because the autonomic nervous system controls it. This is the same system that controls your heartbeat rate and digestion.
Here is how you breath more in one nostril at a time. The blood flow increases in one of the nostrils causing the erectile tissues in the nose to swell. The erectile tissue in the other nostril will shrink, therefore able to take in more air. The cycle will alternate after ninety minutes or so. According to research, about 85% of humans have the nasal cycle. In as much as this condition sounds unreal, it helps you smell better and have healthier nostrils. Also, this cycle protects your nostrils from drying up due to fast-moving air. (1, 2, 3)
5. “Hysterical strength ” is what we experience when faced with a life-or-death situation. At that time, humans can harness more of their muscle strength than usual to overcome the obstacle they’re facing. This incredible feat is usually associated with people lifting cars to save someone.
Hysterical strength is another fascinating fact you probably didn’t know. According to research, human beings can lift an object weighing six to seven times their weight. However, fear, pain, and fatigue discourage them from attempting such feats unless faced with a life or death situation. You’ve probably heard of a case where someone lifted a car off someone in an effort to save that person’s life, and the person lifting the car was not injured.
According to science, when humans are in a life or death situation, the body executes what is called “stress response.” During this terrifying moment, the adrenaline level goes through the roof to give the muscles an extra push. The brain will release the endorphin hormone that will suppress pain to allow you to lift more. One thing to note is that you cannot achieve this superhuman act unless you are under stress. The human body is structured to respond to the extreme in stressful events. In 2012, Laura Kornacki, then 22 years old, lifted a car off his father who had been pinned down by the vehicle as he was working on it in his garage. People exhibit these supernatural powers under stressful situations or when they think the victim will die if they don’t act. (1, 2, 3)