There are some general statements about psychology and people that everybody uses. Unfortunately, most of the general “knowledge” is untrue. Here are 7 of the most popular myths you probably still believe to be true or at least people around you use as arguments against you. You should stop believing that general knowledge is true without having any proof.
1 We use 10% (2%, 1%, 5%) of our brain
The sad part is that I heard this one in school. Unfortunately, many people still believe that we use only a small part of our brain and they shouldn’t be blamed, I’ve heard it so many times in movies, I’ve read about it in different articles and books; it seems that people really want it to be true. I guess people love to believe that if they can access the rest of their brain they will have superpowers. I’m sorry folks, we use our whole brain and if you are not Einstein you can blame your genes or your lack of interest in Physics during high school.
2 The abused become abusers
Many people believe that if a person was abused during childhood they will probably abuse their children too. This is an unfounded statement and actually a study on 244 people shows that only “26 of the 224 former victims (12%) had subsequently committed sexual offences-in almost all cases with children-mainly outside their families”. It also seems that about 20-44% of those who were abused, had no symptoms or mental health problems. So, think again before pointing the finger next time.
3 Criminal profilers are helpful when searching for a criminal
If movies have taught us anything, it is the fact that the beautiful and mysterious criminal profiler helps the police catch criminals with her great wit and knowledge. Apparently they are useless and what they do it’s more like cold reading. Let me give you an example: the murderer is a Caucasian male, unmarried, no kids, lonely, etc. I’m no profiler, but I just described most of the murderers. A study showed that “profilers do not decisively outperform other groups when predicting the characteristics of an unknown criminal”.
4 People with mental problems are violent and they will kill you
Most people will tell you that those with mental problems will < insert extreme violent behavior here > you.
But violence induced by mental disorders is pretty rare (this doesn’t apply to those who take M&Ms as treatment or mentally ill people who drink alcohol). Of course, I’m not saying that there is no violence related to mental problems but having the preconceived idea that every person with a mental illness is violent can be very wrong and offensive. People with a history of drug abuse and alcohol are indeed violent and actually being recently divorced or unemployed makes you more likely to be violent than having a mental illness.
5 You are safer in a crowded environment
If you know what diffusion of responsibility is, you know this is untrue. The bystander effect tells us that the chance of you being helped in an emergency situation is inversely proportional with the number of people in that area.
Just watch these clips about people who passed by the victims without helping them:
6 Opposites attract
The ugly girl and the hot popular guy fall in love (and vice versa) may be popular in movies but not in real life. Actually people seek partners with similar qualities. It seems that having a partner with a similar personality is a big plus for a relationship, while being with somebody completely different might lead to ending your relationship prematurely. However, it seems that this saying is true when it comes to money . A study showed that the more dissatisfied they were, the more likely each participant was to be attracted to individuals with opposing spending views. Stop complaining that your partner is a big spender, you want them to be like that.
7 Positive thinking helps
I’m sorry to tell you but positive thinking doesn’t cure cancer, doesn’t help your self esteem or your happiness. I’m not promoting pessimism or something, but sometimes it is better to stop believing that you can do the impossible. If you know somebody who has low self esteem, don’t tell them to think positive, it will make them feel even worse. Perhaps concentrating on having success in some tasks will probably enhance your self esteem but repeating “I am the best” like a robot might make you even more depressed. Maybe accepting who you are and what you are is the best solution here.