Some Psychological Myths

Cracked loves their lists: 7 ways to do something, 6 companies that did something, 8 funniest whatevers. Anyway, they have a pretty good list of things people believe about psychology that are just plain false:

  • Myth: keeping anger in will make you blow at some point, while expressing your anger is good for you. Buddhist monks — probably all monks, actually — prove this wrong. Getting angry can become a habit, and it’s definitely addictive. Learning to control the anger is what’s good for you; expressing it rarely is.
  • Myth: high self-esteem leads to success. It turns out that being good at something leads to success and high self-esteem, not the other way around. Having high self-esteem for no reason just makes people wonder why you have an undeserved superiority complex, and is a major ingredient of a douchebag.
  • Myth: cult-members are gullible and stupid. Studies show that they’re actually smart and sane. The reason that people get into cults is not because they’re idiots, but usually it’s because they’re down on their luck and alone; cults give them help and a sense of belonging and make them feel better. Then they become part of the group, make friends with the cult members, so they just go with it because people are social animals designed to defend their social group. And the more ostracized they are from the mainstream, the more tightly knit the cult will be. Because pretty much everything we do — from the clothes we wear to the politicians we vote for — is determined by our social network. You are who you hang out with.

  • Myth: subliminal messages work. If they did, someone would’ve taken over the world already.
  • Myth: lie detectors work. In reality, they work a little better than a coin toss. Because they measure things like breathing rate, perspiration, and pulse, anything could throw them off, including being nervous. Not to mention all the spies that beat the lie detector.
  • Myth: homophobes are closet homosexuals. If they were, a huge percentage of the population would be gay. But really, there’s no such thing as “homophobia”: it’s not a scientifically recognized condition. People can respond strongly to homosexuality for a variety of reasons, like they’re morally against it, disgusted by homosexual sex, or just hate everyone that’s different. It doesn’t mean they’re in the closet.

From Cracked, via Neatorama

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