Many books have been written studying our human nature, mainly because us, humans, are not your average mammals, but rather quite complex beings. And while we do have some apparent human behavior patterns, most of us have no idea how easy it is actually to read them without involving any real psychoanalysis. It turns out that no raised eyebrow, nose scratch, or foot placement is done without reason. But let’s be real – no body language trick will make your date instantly fall in love with you, or your dream company hire you. However, some of these psychological tricks are really easy, and you can use them every day. So, what can you gain from these life hacks? Well, you could appear more confident than you really are, and that is a great start.
One internet user compiled a list of fun and easy human psychology tricks that you can try for yourself. Take a look at these twenty short tips and interesting facts below and tell us in the comments whether you’ve used any of them before. And if not, you might be tempted to try this kind of psychological evaluation on your friends.
Learn Things With Ease
The best way to learn and remember something is by trying to explain it to someone else. We tend to simplify things when explaining them to others, therefore this might help you to concentrate on the most important bits of information that you wish to remember.
Find Out Who's Watching You
You know that feeling when you sense that someone is watching you, but you're not really sure? Try yawning and then look at the person whom you suspect of watching. If they yawn too - then you know the person was watching you, as yawning is contagious.
Make Them Go Easier On You
If you predict that your boss is going to go off on you in a meeting, sit close to them. It is intensely uncomfortable to talk badly about someone and be aggressive when they are sitting right next to you. The result? The person that intended to bad-mouth you will take it easier.
Do A Little Experiment
This is a fun little experiment to try - when you are having a conversation with someone, pick out one word that they say. Each time that the person says that word (or something close to it), just nod or give some other type of positive affirmation. Now watch your conversation partner start saying the word all the time.
If you're a procrastinator and have important tasks coming up that can't be put off – try thinking about the task before you sleep. It will force your brain to act on them mentally and your brain will start to draw a pathway to the completion of the task. Simply put – before doing a task in the physical world, do it in your head first. When you get to it in your real life, the brain will have already processed a huge chunk of the task, making it easier for you to actually finish it.
Spot Office Romances
While laughing in a group of people, we tend to glance at the person that we feel closest to. This can be an easy way to spot any office romances going on.
Make Them Agree With You
If you want someone to agree with you when asking a question, slightly nod your head while doing so. In psychology it's called mirroring. It means that people will be more likely to agree with you if you are sending positive affirmation signals (in this case, nodding).
Get The Information You Need
If you want somebody to open up to you, ask them a question and if the person answers it only partially - remain silent and keep eye contact for a little while. This will pressure the person into talking - only beware that some people might get irritated.
Want to appear friendly and confident while meeting someone new? Try to make a note of their eye color. No need to mention it to them, of course, but the idea behind it is that it's a simple technique to maintain the optimum amount of eye contact which is a sign of friendliness and confidence.
If you want to make an impression on someone and maybe even appear charming to them, try repeating their name throughout the conversation. This is because when we hear our names, it grabs our attention and makes us feel like we're being personally addressed and really engaged with. Make sure you don't overdo it though, as you might appear a little bit creepy.
Stop Worrying Before An Event
If you feel nervous before some kind of event or action, instead of biting your nails or reaching for a cigarette, just try chewing some gum beforehand. Our brains are wired to believe that we're safe whenever we're eating.
Kill The Annoying Earworm
Probably all of us at one point or another have had a song stuck in our heads that is just impossible to forget. The trick to stop the song playing over and over again inside your brain is to think about the ending of it. This is called the 'Zeigarnik effect' - it states that humans remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better in comparison to completed tasks.
Listen To Classical Music While Studying
According to one study, it was found that rap and hip hop negatively affect GPA, while listening to classical and easy music positively affected GPA. It is thought that the reason behind this is that the vocals in the music are naturally distracting – we, as humans, are more reactive to vocal sounds than to non-vocal ones. Therefore, when learning something new – try listening to some classical music or songs without lyrics.
Mind Your Feet
The feet are a part of the body that we use a lot when communicating in body language. For example, if you approach someone and they turn their torso to you but not their feet - it's a bad sign and means that they'd prefer to be left alone. Also if you are talking to a person and notice that their feet are pointing away from you, they most probably want to flee.
Make Your Kids To Finally Eat Vegetables
Every parent knows the struggle of trying to make your kids eat their vegetables. The trick? Instead of asking them if they want any broccoli at all (or any kind of vegetable for that matter), ask them whether they'd like three or five pieces of veg (the quantity is up to you). It'll make kids feel as if they've made a grown-up choice and they'll still be getting their nutrients. It's a win-win!
Tackle Eye Contact Anxiety
If you experience anxiety, prolonged eye contact can make you a bit overwhelmed. If it is difficult and uncomfortable for you to maintain eye contact, try looking the person between the eyes. It does not look that much different to the observer and it will make you look way more confident and friendly.
Fake A Smile
If you're feeling a bit down (we all have those days, don't we?) trick your brain into thinking that you're in a good mood by simply faking a smile. The brain and the body both exchange feedback simultaneously, therefore consequently, one affects the other in numerous ways. Fake smiling will engage similar neural networks as a genuine smile would. This means that faking a smile (or any other kind of expression of joy) can lift your mood.
Alleviate Motion Sickness
Motion sickness happens when your vestibular system tells the brain that you're moving, while your eyes are looking at something that is still and informs the brain that you are actually stationary. This clash results in motion sickness. To alleviate it – try looking outside the window as this way, your brain will understand that you're actually moving.
If you have a lot of content which you need to learn, try learning it in chunks of relevant information instead of trying to memorize the whole thing in one sitting. This method of studying is a combination of two psychological processes called 'interleaving' and 'chunking'. For example, if you have a large text to memorize, instead of cramming it whole, read two or three related topics about it and then get back to your main paper. Similar topics are filled with information that will later fit into the larger framework, which will then make easier for you to comprehend the whole topic. Also, processing the information in chunks makes your brain retain the information much easier.
Ask For Favors
According to a psychological phenomenon called the 'Ben Franklin effect,' our minds struggle to maintain consistency between our actions and perceptions. This is due to so-called cognitive dissonance. Would you like to see how it works in practice? Try asking someone to do a small favor for you, as it tricks the other person into thinking they like you (spot the dissonance?). As Benjamin Franklin said himself, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.”
Walk Through Busy Streets More Easily
While walking down a busy street, keep your eyes locked on the direction you're walking towards. People tend to watch other people's eyes in crowded areas, to see which direction they're going so that they can go the opposite way.
Ask Someone To Help You Without Saying A Word
If you are carrying a heavy load, let's say several bags of groceries or a pile of books, and you want to share the load with someone - just keep talking while you're handing them the bag (or books). The majority of people will automatically take the bag from you without even thinking about it. However, some people might become confused.
Don't Be The Middle Guy
An easy way to make an impression on someone that is interviewing you for a job - don't be the person in the middle. Simply put - try to be either the first or the last interviewee. People tend to have the clearest memories of something that happened either in the beginning or at the end of something, and our minds easily blur everything that happened in between.
Win Rock, Paper, Scissors
An easy way to win a "rock, paper, scissors" game is to ask someone a question just before the game starts. If you drop a question and then immediately proceed to say "rock, paper, scissors," chances are that your partner will most likely throw scissors.
Make Bonding Easier
If you want to seem inviting when meeting someone new, make sure your hand is warm before giving them a handshake. In addition, try subtly mimicking their body language as it builds trust and makes you bond easier.
Drop The Annoying Habit
An amazing thing about our brain is that it is extremely gullible and will believe anything you say – therefore, you can use this trait to your advantage. Firstly, you need to have a trigger – a thing that scares you, like social anxiety for instance. Then, for example, if you want to quit an unhealthy habit, like biting your nails, lie to your brain that you biting your nails will result in some scary social situation. Bear in mind, that this should be used for good purposes only. Don't tell your brain that you're unworthy, incompetent or stupid – because while it is not true, you can easily make your brain believe it.
If you want people to take you a little bit more seriously, each time you give advice you can tell them that it's 'what your father taught you.' People by nature tend to trust father figures.
Memorize Your Grocery List Easily
The mnemonic peg system is a memory aid that works by creating mental associations between two objects. Generally, the system includes linking nouns to numbers and it is usual to choose a noun that will rhyme with the number you want to associate it with. Let's say, the third product in your grocery list is a soap. Three rhymes with tree, therefore you can try imagining a tree with bars of soap hanging from its branches. Ridiculous, yet effective. Try making your imaginary story as dramatic as possible, as vivid visualization helps you to remember information easier.
Also, remember chunking? This technique was mentioned as one of the most efficient ways of retaining information. You can also apply chunking when trying to remember everyday things, such as your grocery list. Try grouping the items together, for example - vegetables could be your one group of items and bread products – another one.