Common Myths Of Psychology- #1

Our mind is definitely an intriguing abstract organ, however studying about it is not easy. Researchers in psychology spend years trying to figure ‘why’ and ‘how’ we think the way we do but the possibility of finding the right answer is not always high. Here are some common myths in psychology, explained.

 Most People Use Only 10% of Their Brain Power.

In Scott Witt’s popular book, How to be twice as smart, he explains that “If you’re like most people you are only using ten percent of your brainpower”. Why would  brain researchers doubt that 90% of our brain is silent? The popularity of this myth stems from authors’ misunderstandings of scientific papers written by early brain researchers. That’s not all! Albert Einstein once explained his own brilliance by referring to the myth which made it more accepted and generalized.

According to the scientific perspective, areas of the brain that are unused because of injuries or diseases tend to either fizzle out or ‘degenerate’ or other regions of the brain take over the unused part. Consequently, perfectly healthy unused brain tissues are unlikely to remain on the sidelines for long. Losing far less than 90% of the brain can actually cause catastrophic effects.

EEGs, fMRI , MRI, and PET scans show us that almost all parts of our brain are active at all times, even during sleep.

Most People Experience a Midlife Crisis in Their 40s or Early 50s.

Elliot Jacques coined the term mid-crisis to explain the idea that people experience difficult life transitions when poised roughly midway birth and death.

The reason why the notion of midlife crisis persists is based on a shard of truth. Psychologist, Erik Erikson, observed that in middle-adulthood, most people grapple with finding direction, meaning and purpose in life and the thought to find out whether they want a mid-course correction. Some symptoms of midlife crisis, such as a divorce, are more likely to occur prior to middle age. Moreover, when people purchase a sports car during their 40s, it may have nothing to do with making the best of a crisis but rather  them being able to finally make the payments on the car which they have wanted for so long.

Studies across cultures provide no evidence for the idea that middle age is stressful or a difficult phase. Mid life crisis is not a prospect for everyone. So if you want to make radical changes in life, it’s never too late or early to do so.

If You’re Unsure of Your Answer When Taking a Test, It’s Best to Stick With Your Initial Hunch. 

We have all taken a ‘multiple choice test’ at some point in our lives. We have also almost always heard that one advice – follow your hunch cause that’s probably the right answer!

What do scientific findings say?

More than 60 studies essentially have led to the same verdict: when students change answers on multiple choice tests, they’re more likely to change from wrong to a right answer than the other way round. In addition, students who change more answers tend to receive higher test scores when compared to other students, although this finding is correlational as it reflects the fact that frequent answer changers are high test performers to begin with.

So when in doubt, its best not to trust your instincts. After all, they are just hunches. If we have a good reason to believe we are wrong, we should go with our heads instead.



Carla Clark, P. (2018). Best and Worst of Psychology and Psychiatry – May 2016 | Brain Blogger. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8 Mar. 2018]. (Featured Image).

50 great myths of popular psychology ( Click to buy the book)

Lilienfeld, S., Lynn, S., Ruscio, J. and Beyerstein, B. (2011). 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.





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