The Truth Behind 5 Psychological Myths

Many attribute their behavior and that of others to personality traits and psychological well-being. Psychology has helped to make significant headway into the understanding of human behavior, but over the years some have proven not quite accurate. What I take most out of each of these “lies” is that there is the possibility for change and growth. Making good use of that ability is what will promote a healthier and more well-rounded life.

Myth 1

There is a significant difference in spatial recognition and language skills between men and women.

Traditionally, men are said to navigate better, whereas women are known to excel in language. Results of a standardized test showed men and women are basically at the same level. Attention to the subject matter and practice will promote improvement in any ability despite gender.

Myth 2

Learning styles play a significant role in how much new information is absorbed.

In a course I took relating to educational psychology, students were placed into groups based on their preferred method of learning. They were presented data either orally, written, with pictures, or with an interactive activity to memorize. Each of us were then tested. In the next round we all switched groups and were given new information in a format believed to be less comfortable and once again tested. Results of both test failed to show a major difference in scores. So what did I learn from that experiment? That although everyone has a preferred style of learning, the material, subject matter, and environment play more of a role in how much is learned. Take driving for example, that is one skill I learned by practicing, reading that dreadful driver’s education manual did not help me in knowing how to safely avoid a collision when someone decided to cut me off on the highway. Mindfulness is key because if you stay in the moment there is a limitless amount of information you can obtain.

Myth 3

The Rorschach Ink Blot test is a reliable tool in testing personality.

The way a person perceives a picture or situation varies because of a number of factors. These include culture, experience, education, and preconceived ideas. Originally developed to diagnose schizophrenia, psychologists over the years have utilized this tool as a way of analyzing personality traits. The approach has proven useful in detecting distorted interpretations; however, there is too much room for bias to completely hold this test accountable for personality detection. The saying, “never judge a book by its cover” comes to mind as you really do not know what is behind a person’s train of thought until you get to know them.

Ink Blot
Two dancing elephants? You decide.

Myth 4

The left side of the brain is solely responsible for logical reasoning, while the right brain handles creativity.

The truth is both sides work together like one happy family. Neither side of the body can work properly without effective communication between the left and right side of the brain. Take having a conversation for example. The left side helps to coordinate and arrange logical details and the right side will decide on the best way to present it.

Myth 5

We only use 10% of our brain.

Now a more accurate way of putting it is that most people do not make good use of their brain power; however, every aspect of our brains are constantly at work. Developing the brain involves continuously reading, writing, and experiencing our environment. Research also shows listening to something you enjoy such as music, stories, or a speech can help promote focus and improve performance on exams.

Research findings provided by Ben Ambridge’s TED talk on psychological myths. Interested in learning more, check out his speech on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ce31WjiVcY0&t=548s

Learning these truths has motivated me to appreciate both good and bad experiences, because I know somewhere in there is a lesson to be learned. Fellow Resolifers how can you apply the truth behind these myths to your life?

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