Surprising Psychology Findings

Psychology is an area that still causes much scepticism outside of the scientific community and with so many studies being published daily, it can be hard to know what is relevant and what isn’t. To guide you through the many studies, here are the four most surprising psychology findings in recent years.

1. Colours have deeper meanings than you’d think

Many brands use one colour logos to give off a certain impression.[1-infographic] Research [2] shows that many elements affect the ways in which colour translates to emotion but it’s one aspect of psychology people love to endlessly discuss.

Whilst you’re sure to recognise the McDonalds or the Apple logo anywhere, what you may not have realised is the research that has gone into selecting the colour(s) they wanted to use for their brand. You may already know that yellow is supposed to instil optimism and happiness, but it can also be a sign of clarity and warmth. Whereas blue can give the impression of dependability, trust and strength. Silver, used by brands such as Apple and Honda, is supposed to convey balance and have a calming effect.

2. One-third of us experience hallucinations

Surprisingly, more of us experience hallucinations than you may have initially thought. Hallucinations can often happen when somebody is extremely sleep deprived or having some kind of psychological illness, but in this [3] study, 38.7% of the participants admitted to having experienced hallucinations during the waking or falling asleep period.

3. We are more likely to do something if an authority figure tells us to

You may have heard of Stanley Milgram’s famous study [4] on authority, where a group of people were asked to administer electric shocks to participants, whilst being able to hear their screams of pain. Despite hearing the cries, 63% of the administers of the electric shocks carried on simply because there was an authority figure telling them to do so. Despite being one of the more famous psychological studies, it’s still fascinating and surprising to find that we would hurt other people if told to do so by somebody in authority.

4. Announcing your goals to others de-motivates you

Some people think that once they’ve announced their goals to others, it’s set in stone. People are aware now, so you must make it happen, right? Wrong. Actually, announcing your intentions satisfies your need for self-identity so you’re less likely to put in the hard work to make it happen. Four separate studies [5]/ found that people were more likely to achieve their goals if they kept them private.


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I'm a psychology student with a passion for books, good food and movies. I can often be found reading self-help articles snuggled up in bed with a cup of coffee or writing about anything and everything in a quiet cafe somewhere.