We all go through this cold cruel world wrapped in the comfortable blanket of our beliefs, values, principles. These things we put into a system to try and make sense of the world, alongside the most important component of all, knowledge, that we strive (or should strive) to gain, during the course of our lives.
But all the information we get cannot be processed in the precise analytical manner of a computer, because we are not machines and emotions inevitably play a great role in all of our analyses and decision taking processes. So, most of the times, whether we are aware of this or not, and whether we accept this or not, that comfortable blanket of beliefs is actually a full-proof layer of rationalization, which insulates us from the objective reality, which researchers (as humans themselves) are constantly trying to reveal as it is, without the warping influence of our emotions and rationalizations.
This painstaking process of theirs sometimes leads to conclusions that startle us and come directly against the rationalizations that we hold onto, which is the case of these 5 intriguing results of studies.
1. Information overload
One of the things we take for granted is that as our civilization evolves, education evolves along with it and the subsequent generations will be better and better prepared, accumulating a wealth of information that previous generations would never have had access to.
Which is mostly true. But there are other unintended consequences to having more and more data being produced in the world each second and at your disposal just as fast. Including that of no longer being able to sift through it all. Indeed, not even knowing which of it is true or not, because there is not enough time or motivation to verify it.
As is (possibly) the case of a great number of British teens today. Because a survey found that 58% of the participants involved thought that Sherlock Holmes was real and 20% thought Winston Churchill was not. However, in this instance it’s more probable that the problem is a lack of motivation, which is quite alarming regarding the subject matter. It would have been really easy to find out that Churchill was a historical figure and one of the most important British politicians.
2. Racial superiority
An excellent example of how a fairly entrenched system of beliefs can be confirmed to be false is given by the Eyferth study set up by the scientist Klaus Eyferth, from which it takes its name.
This study was done in Germany soon after World War II where, as you can imagine, black people were looked down on as being inferior and publicly stigmatized and abused. This inferiority was considered to include a lesser intelligence than that of whites.
Luckily for science, Eyferth conducted comparisons between children born of African American soldiers and German women and children born of white fathers and German women. As is common knowledge now, no difference in intelligence was observed between the two groups. But at the time, this was a shocking conclusion for those who were firmly convinced whites are more intelligent than blacks.
3. The killing instinct
Another thing we like to believe is that human beings are inherently good, peace loving individuals that can be reasoned with and that only the experiences one has in life and his environment makes a person become violent or murderous.
And we still believe it even after studies like that performed by psychologist David Buss point out that 91 percent of men and 84 percent of women have at some point fantasized about murdering someone else. Presumably this innate ability to be capable of murder stems from our evolutionary past where competition for resources often involved this.
4. How ’bout a drink?
Everybody knows the television cliche of the male reacting defensively against the limitations that marriage will impose on him and ruin his until then wild social (and night) life. That cliche usually goes on along with the plot of a given TV series to develop into the sad slow story of decline into constant marital arguments and overreactions on both sides which ultimately complicate things way more than needed.
Good stuff for a show to keep audiences interested. But reality is even more interesting, because it turns out that according to a study by Corinne Reczek of the American Sociological Association, married men drink less than when they were single, not more.
And the real kicker? Women start drinking more after marriage. And the really really sad part is that it appears that this increase in alcohol consumption by women after marriage has to do with… the hubby. Yup, the males are the cause behind women drinking more, because they are facilitators of such behavior, while women act as the opposite for them, as a counter-balance.
So, next time you offer a drink to your wife, man, or chide her for being a wuss if she doesn’t wanna join you in this past-time, think of unintended long-term consequences.
5. Good news bad news
We tend to think that the human body has been the same since ages past. Another firm belief that actually is based on instinct and rationalization. So the following info might come as a surprise.
A survey conducted on 60,000 customers by Intimacy, an American lingerie retailer, American females breasts are getting bigger! Yaaaay, bring out the celebratory champagne and trumpets said the guys! Right!?
Not so fast, because one of the major causes behind this is that unfortunately this has to do with the population overall (including women) being more over-weight than they were in the past. Which also influences the size of breasts.
Since there’s no need to expound on the negative consequences of being-overweight from a health point of view, let’s just say guys and gals alike shouldn’t rejoice and instead decide to spend some romantic time together at the gym. Then, in a few months, they can admire their newly toned, fit bodies and revel in that sensuality. Win-win.