7 Widely Believed Myths In Psychology

7 Widely Believed Myths In Psychology

Almost everything about psychology attempts to explain people’s behaviour by their upbringing, and their experiences. And all the “myths” which is propagates are based on some form of this theory.

1. People are left-brained or right-brained. To some extent, individuals use one hemisphere of their brains over others; and there is hemispheric dominance for certain activities, such as left-brain dominance in logical/mathematical reasoning. But the reality is that the brain works together, as a whole, in almost all of its activities and functions.

2. Creativity is enhanced by being in a group. Being part of a group can actually lead to groupthink, which is when the ideas become limited due to various factors of groups. For example, the fear of ridicule from expressing one’s ideas, and submission to more authoritative figures, both can limit the ideas discussed. Similarly, individuals may allow dominant others to take over the main discussion, which further limits creativity and idea-expression. A better idea is to brainstorm on one’s own, and then discuss the lists with other individuals who have written down their own ideas.

3. Vivid memories are reliable and accurate, especially if the person remembering is confident and convincing. Not so. Our memories are affected by expectations, prejudices, positive and negative feelings. Research has shown that kids, questioned improperly, can come to believe absolutely, though with no foundation in fact, that they have been abused. They can also become convinced that they went to Disneyland when they were 7, and recount detailed memories of something that never happened.

4. Violent criminals often have a diagnosis of mental illness, and the mentally ill are likely to be dangerous. Also not true. Politicians love the idea of preventing folks with a mental illness diagnosis from buying guns. Typically they know better, but use a popular myth to comfort voters, without really doing anything about gun violence.

5. Opposites attract and make better partners. It's a myth that when you're dating, you are likely to be attracted to people who are very different from you. The primary reason why this myth is so popular is that people believe in the false logic that we are drawn to potential partners who have opposite traits to us because they are more interesting and create a balanced relationship.

6. Mental Illness is caused by a “chemical imbalance” in the brain. This one results from the fact the certain medications that seem to impact neurotransmission, etc, are helpful, but that doesn’t prove there was an “imbalance” that the drugs correct, any more than a headache is caused by a lack of aspirin. We simply don’t know much about what causes what we call “mental illness.”

7. Sending domestically violent people to “anger management” is an effective way to teach them self-control. In fact, many of these offenders use anger as a favored tool to control others and to intimidate and manipulate intimate partners. Behavioral approaches may actually equip some men with more refined ways to deploy their rage in less obvious ways, and with even greater effect. Anger management sounds good, but it’s just not that simple.

Hope you enjoyed the article.