10 Amazing Phenomena of a Normal Human Mind


5. Disowning Pain Phenomenon

Recently, research at Oxford University has lead to the discovery of a new pain killer – the inverted binoculars. This study demonstrated that distorting the body image alters pain perception – specifically, it was found that using inverted binoculars to make the hand look smaller than it actually was led to a reduction in pain.

The scientists demonstrated that the subjects who looked at their wounded hands through the wrong end of the binoculars, making the hand appear smaller, experienced significantly less pain and decreased swelling. According to the researchers, this demonstrates that even basic bodily sensations such as pain are modulated by what we see. So, the next time you stub your toe or cut a finger, do yourself a favor and look away!


4. The Three Dimensional Sight Phenomenon

Take a look at the spinning girl. Do you see it spinning clockwise or counter-clockwise? I see it spinning counter-clockwise, but i was able to switch it in the other direction. It’s hard for many people. Give it a try.

The spinning girl is a form of the more general spinning silhouette illusion. The image is not objectively “spinning” in one direction or the other. It is a two-dimensional image that is simply shifting back and forth. However, our brains did not evolve to interpret two-dimensional representations of the world. So, our visual processing assumes we are looking at a 3-D image and is uses clues to interpret it as such. Without adequate clues it may just arbitrarily decide a best fit – spinning clockwise or counterclockwise. Once your mind chooses a fit, the illusion is complete and we see a 3-D spinning image.

By looking around the image, focusing on the shadow or some other part, you may force your visual system to reconstruct the image and it may choose the opposite direction, and suddenly the image will spin in the opposite direction.


3. Pygmalion Effect

Pygmalion effect refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, often children or students and employees, the better they perform. The Pygmalion effect is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy, it is a prediction that causes itself to become true. In this respect, people with poor expectations internalize their negative label, and those with positive labels succeed accordingly. For example, you assume you are going to perform badly at your test today so you decrease the effort and end up doing poorly. If I think my relationship with my significant other is going to fail, I start acting differently, pulling away emotionally, which may cause it to fail.

The Pygmalion effect can also result from racial expectations as in Jane Elliott’s experiment, where 3rd graders were divided based on eye color. One group was regarded as “superior” over the other in intelligence and learning ability. On the 2nd day, the groups were reversed. Elliott gave spelling tests to both groups on each day. The students scored very low the day they were racially “inferior” and very high the day they were considered racially “superior.”


2. Purkinje Lights Phenomenon

Jan Purkinje, a founder rather of modern neuroscience, stumbled upon a reliable hallucination as a child. First he closed his eyes, then tilted his head to face the sun and moved his hand back and forth quickly in front of his closed eyes. After few minutes, Purkinje noted of beautiful fractals and figures which gradually became more intricate.

This stimulation seems to short-circuit the visual cortex of brain, its cells start firing in unpredictable bursts, which lead to perception of imaginary images. In this sense, hallucinations are always a side effect of our need to always make sense of reality as the brain struggles to decipher sensory inputs.


1. Placebo Effect

A placebo is a medical intervention that has no physio-chemical effect on the body. If the patient believes the placebo to have healing properties, the placebo will have the desired effect. Commonly used placebos are inert tablets (dummy drugs) and fake surgery or other procedures based on false information. The patient is given an inert pill, told that it may improve his condition, but not told that it is in fact inert. Such an intervention may cause the patient to believe the treatment will change his condition; and this belief may produce a positive therapeutic effect, causing the patient to feel their condition has improved. This phenomenon is known as the placebo effect.

8 thoughts on “10 Amazing Phenomena of a Normal Human Mind

  1. this article is awsm..i luv the human brain phenomenons. <3
    i felt the same thing n always wondered y it happens.. 🙂

  2. I liked that article a lot. I didn’t realise the Purkinje Lights had a name! I used to notice it loads as a child, but could never explain it to anyone. It just made me sound nuts.

  3. I’m glad I finally have a name to the Purkinje Lights effect. I used to wonder what the hell it was when I was a kid, and now I know, so thanks for that.

  4. There is not a 50% chance of getting 20 heads in a row. If you want to get 20 in a row the chance of getting that is .5^20. The chance every time of getting heads is .5, but to get 20 in a row the probability is much smaller than that.

  5. You seem to have misread it. It clearly states that in a series of 20 flips, the chance of a string of four heads in a row some time during the series is 50%.
    Which is correct, out of all the possibilities for 20 flips, half contain four heads in a row.

  6. Very interesting. The human mind is a very complex mechanism and I believe that we will never come to understand it completely.

  7. With the spinning lady, try to make her switch directions every single turn she does. its pretty hard but i managed to do it 4 times in a row. i have a feeling its a good brain excercise.

  8. And here I was thinking I was the only one who used to do the number 2 (Purkinje Lights Phenomenon)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *