A brain fart is a brain fart is a brain fart. Nobody is immune to them. But having said that, these temporary blips can be really funny. When they're someone else's suffering, of course.
If you don't believe me, just take a look at the Twitter account -1000 IQ. It's sharing follower-submitted moments when people's brains stopped computing and pushed the poor folks into making a fool of themselves.
From sanding your car's tires for a smooth ride to claiming New York isn't part of the US, here are some of the funniest ones.
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There are plenty of concepts our brains struggle with, like four-dimensional hypercubes, quantum mechanics or an infinite universe. And understandably so. But as you can see from this list, every once in a while even the most mundane everyday tasks can leave us baffled. However, there are some things that (unexpectedly) mess up our cognitive abilities but manage to do so while slipping under the radar.
Doors. Remember the feeling you get when you walk into a room with some purpose in mind only to completely forget what that was? Well, psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what's known as an "event boundary" in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next, similarly to how exiting through a doorway signals the end of a scene in a movie. Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room, and prepares a blank page for the new location. Mental event boundaries usually help us organize our thoughts and memories as we move through the world, but sometimes they can throw us off, too.
Beeps. From digital alarm clocks to smoke detectors, these sounds have practically become the soundtrack of the modern world. But we didn't evolve hearing beeps, so we struggle to make peace with them. Natural sounds are created from a transfer of energy, often from one object striking another. Think of a stick hitting a drum. In that case, energy is transferred into the drum and then gradually dissipates, causing the sound to decay over time. Our perceptual system has evolved to use that decay to grasp the event. To figure out what made the sound, and where it came from.
Beep sounds, however, are like cars driving at 60 mph which suddenly hit a wall, as opposed to gradually slowing to a stop. The sound doesn't change over time, and it doesn't fade away, so our brains are baffled about what they are and where they're coming from and can go into overdrive.
Wide open spaces. When people are traversing the desert or a thick forest — terrains without landmarks — people usually end up walking in circles. Experiments on blindfolded individuals revealed that when we lack external reference points, we curve around in loops as tight as 66 feet (20 meters) in diameter, all the while believing we are traveling in a straight line. Turns out, it isn't because one leg is longer or stronger than the other — wide open spaces simply throw the brain for a loop.
According to researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybergenetics in Germany, loopy paths follow from a walker's changing sense of "straight ahead." With every step, a small deviation arises in the brain's vestibular (balance-maintaining) system or the proprioceptive (body awareness) system, and is added to the person's cognitive sense of what's straight. These deviations accumulate over time and send that individual veering around in ever tighter circles as time goes on. Interestingly, these little brain farts don't add up when we can regularly recalibrate our sense of direction using a nearby building or mountain.
To see some of these examples in action, check out these 31 times people had brain farts that resulted in funny communication fails.