By: Dubem M.
- Lost in Translation Repetition
Say “banana” twenty times. Not joking, please do it.
Chances are that by the time you’ve gotten to this text that “banana” no longer really holds a meaning in your mind anymore. It will begin to feel cumbersome and will take more mind power to say. You mind may even forget what the word means all together. This is called “semantic satiation” and it happens when your brain cells “go into power save mode.” Semantic satiation was coined in 1962 by Leon James, a psychology professor at University of Hawaii’s College of Social Sciences.” He described it as “a kind of fatigue” and it is caused by our neurons firing. When a neuron fires, it takes more energy to fire it a second time and even more a third time and so forth, so if you are firing the same cells successively for a long time you are exhausting more energy to perform the same tasks.
- The McGurk Effect
This odd occurrence happens when the information coming into your ears and the information coming in through your eyes is contradicting. Your brain isn’t sure how to deal with the conflicting information leaving us in a state of confusion. This was on the rise during when proper filming began and we also had audio to accompany it. If the audio was out of sync with the video it became distracting and ultimately annoying.
- “Oh! I Felt That”
Assuming that you have ever seen a fail compilation or seen another human being get badly hurt, then you have probably experienced this. The phenomenon is attributed to “mirror neurons” which make you “feel” the pain of the afflicted during the impact. Even though you were not part of the accident, you have a dramatic empathetic response to the event. This ability was likely developed due to the fact that in the grand scheme of the animal kingdom, humans are “squishy” at best. We do not have claws, camouflage or punches that cause temperatures as hot as the surface of the sun (Google the pistol shrimp). However, our ability to learn without experiencing something ourselves undoubtedly characterised our success as a species. That success can therefore be connected back to the mirror neurons which makes us feel “ghost pain” to dissuade us from trying a foolhardy plan. It’s like learning from trial and error but it’s someone else’s error and you’re learning from their mistakes.
- Real Life Matrix Bend
Let’s say that the mirror neurons were not able to stop you from getting hurt and you’re facing impending doom and destruction then you may experience this amazing cinematic special effect. Your world will slow down. For you literally. Seeing something precious or destructive fall may also trigger this. When you feel threatened your brain takes in extra layers of information. This makes us perceive time as running slower as it really is even though it isn’t. You become hyperaware of the object even though you are not able to move fast enough to affect the outcome though your reaction time will be drastically improved by a few microseconds. This mental trick was designed to allow us to react quickly in life or death situation and in these situations, a microsecond may determine whether you survive.
- The Yawn
Whether you’re sitting through a boring ceremony or your neighbours decided to throw a rock party the night before, we have all been tired or bored at some point in our lives. That boredom tends to be accompanied by one of the most mysterious symptoms of sleep deprivation, the yawn. Yawning is an odd thing. I won’t describe it because I’ll bet you’ve all yawned enough and don’t need a play-by-play of what happens but yawning is pervasive. Yawning is seen in nearly all species of animal life. Fish do it, cats do it, dogs do it, even snakes yawn. But why do we yawn? According to the Library of Congress, we used to believe that yawning increased the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, waking us up, but that theory was flawed. Yes, we yawn when we don’t want to sleep, but we yawn every time we go to sleep even if it is a scheduled and routine sleep time. This was reiterated by Steven Platek, a psychology professor at Georgia Gwinnett College, who tested the oxygen levels in the bloodstream of yawning volunteers and unfortunately it showed no correlation to yawning. However, according to the SUNY College of Oneonta, discerned that yawns are actually the body’s way of reducing the brain’s temperature. The brain is the centre for a large percent of the body’s metabolic reactions so it can get very hot within the skull. So if your teacher ever gets angry at you for yawning in class, you can tell them that your brain was over heating because you were concentrating very hard.