Have you ever looked at somebody around you and thought their behavior was a bit weird? Well, if you really think about it, quite many of our human behaviors are weird and seem unexplainable, but we all do the same things so there must be a scientific explanation for them, right? Read on.
1. Wanting to Bite Anything Cute
This one might seem a bit strange if you’re not familiar with the term, but I wholeheartedly appreciate this is completely weird behavior, yet every time I see something adorable, I have a strange urge to bite it. Apparently, there are two main reasons why we feel this urge (although hopefully none of us would actually chew on something cute like a baby or a puppy). Firstly, when we smell something like a newborn baby, we get a rush of dopamine, much like when we’re eating something yummy. This causes our senses to get confused and we can’t help but mutter something along the lines of “he’s so cute I just want to gobble him up…”
Secondly, a more behaviorist explanation that derives from our animal senses to nip and bite at one another. Many mammals do this as a way of building trust and bonding so it isn’t surprising that us humans feel the need to do it to cute things too.
2. Being Fascinated with Psychopaths and Killers
If you browse through your TV on any given evening, you’re likely to stumble across some kind of programme on serial killers. Whether it’s a dramatised crime show or a documentary on individual cases, our society is fascinated with the topic. But why are we so fascinated with such gruesome, terrifying content? Apparently there are quite a few explanations. Firstly, some psychologists claim it’s an excellent form of escapism and that we like to step outside of our law-abiding shoes every once in a while and experience something so far from our own world. Secondly, on the opposite end of the spectrum, forensic psychologist J. Reid Maloney claims psychopaths are a form of predator and learning about them awakens our animalistic instinct and connects us to our inner animal self, without having to experience the danger that comes with it.
In our society, we’ve been conditioned to think that crying is perfectly normal but if you think about it, water seeping from our eyes when we experience an emotional moment is really quite strange. I’m the first to admit I’m quite the crier, so when I found out the scientific links between emotion, tears and our eyes, I was fascinated. Some psychologists, including Ad Vingerhoets, claim crying is an evolutionary social sign that came from early distress signals. Seemingly, silent crying can be said to be linked back to the days when tribes would alert one another to distress without informing a predator by using something noticeable, like a scream for example. Throughout time, we have been conditioned to cry during sad, happy or another emotional state but it actually started out as a distress call.
4. Experiencing Awkward Silences
Most people feel awkward during silence in the presence of other people and immediately feel the need to fill the silence with sounds. But why do we feel so awkward when there isn’t anything being said? Well again, it comes down to our primal behaviors. If the conversation isn’t flowing, even to the most confident person, it may seem as though they’re doing something wrong and this doesn’t fulfil the human need to be liked. Although this isn’t entirely true for all cultures, for most it can feel awkward experiencing a few moments of silence in a world where people are constantly talking.
5. Twitching When Falling Asleep
Have you ever been close to falling asleep then awakened yourself suddenly by involuntarily twitching your leg or your arm? Apparently 70% of people experience this feeling and whilst there is no official scientific explanation for this behavior, there are a few hypotheses that we can identify with. At its simplest, involuntary twitching is a natural reaction to the nerves and muscles relaxing and entering a sleep state, misfiring during the transition. Other scientists believe it’s evolutionary and goes back to the days when hunters must keep themselves awake in order to protect themselves, which explains why some people only experience this behavior when falling asleep around others.
There are so many human behaviors that seem normal to us as we experience them on a daily basis, are actually quite weird when you think about the actions we carry out.
Do any of these explanations reign true with you? What other behaviors do you feel are strange and could have a scientific explanation for?