Brains are incredible; they are complex and can even be terrifying at times when you consider just what they are capable of. Humans rarely ever use all of their brain power, and in some circumstances, our brains can be pushed into overdrive, and that’s when those capabilities come to light. Some of these things you may have heard of, but you’ll be learning more about why and how your brain does the incredible things that it does in the list below.
Earworms, or having a song stuck in your head, has without a doubt happened to you in the past. The reason that this happens is that your brain gets stuck on a loop when it can’t finish a thought. So, when you have just portions of a song stuck in your head, your brain scrambles to complete the thought; when it isn’t able to do so, it just keeps repeating. Listening to the song and figuring out the lyrics might be a way to get it to stop.
Sudden Foreign Accent Syndrome
Sudden Foreign Accent Syndrome, or more recently just Foreign Accent Syndrome is usually the result of a brain injury or stroke. However, there are cases that have been linked to multiple sclerosis and some that have no discernible cause at all. This syndrome causes the person to start speaking in an accent that is foreign to them. Timing, intonation, tongue placement, and even slang terms can all change as a result of this syndrome. There have only been 100 cases of this in the past century.
Hysterical strength is what it is called when humans display strength beyond that which is naturally possible. This happens to people when they are put in extreme and dangerous situations, often life or death. Examples of this can be a human being lifting a car off of someone who has been injured or being able to break through a locked door in case of a fire. Scientists attribute this to the surge of adrenaline your brain produces in these situations. Such displays of strength can also happen in states of excited delirium when stress and psychological dysfunction cause humans to feel less pain.
An eidetic memory was most commonly known as a photographic memory until our favorite member of the BAU, Dr. Spencer Reid in Criminal Minds, started talking about his own incredible mind. It is typically found in children, but there are cases of adults who have incredible memories as well. People with this gift have the ability to recall images perfectly, books, series of numbers, and more. What is most interesting about this ability is that this type of memory and recall ability is not at all linked to intelligence.
Sleep paralysis is extremely scary to most who experience it, but not many people will in their lifetime. It is caused by the awkward state between sleeping and being awake where your body is asleep, but your mind is awake. It makes it so your body can’t move at all, but you may be experiencing dreams while this is happening-usually nightmares. Some scientists have theorized that it is caused by the overlap of REM stages and waking stages of sleep; which can be caused by neural dysfunctions, or imbalances of melatonin.
Capgras Syndrome is also known as the Capgras Delusion; it is when a person develops the irrational fear or belief that a specific person in their life has been replaced with an exact duplicate or an impostor. It is wild to think about the depths of mental illness and the things that can happen inside the brain when things go wrong or is not well taken care of. It can be caused by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, as well as Schizophrenia, and in the rarest of cases, epilepsy.
Fregoli Syndrome or the Fregoli Delusion is similar to Capgras Syndrome in that medical professionals believe that it is a result of a breakdown in a person’s facial perception abilities. This is a psychological condition where people develop an irrational belief that multiple people are just one person who is shapeshifting or otherwise changing their appearance to appear as someone else. Treatment with Levodopa, brain lesions, and traumatic brain injuries are all things that can cause Fregoli Syndrome.
Pareidolia is something that everyone experiences, and it is seeing faces in unusual places. Humans have a tendency to seek patterns where there may not be any, and that is what causes people to see faces where there may not be or shapes in the clouds. It is perfectly normal, even though it can be creepy to peer down your hallway and start making faces out of the shadows. Humans are hardwired to recognize faces, and this manifests itself in Pareidolia; causes for this are still unknown.
Semantic satiation is the fancy name given to the sensation of repeating a word until it no longer feels real. The reason this happens is the peripheral sensorimotor activity and central neural activation that occur every time you hear the word is repeating over and over again. This causes something called reactive inhibition, where the reaction loses its intensity every time. So, your brain just can’t repeatedly process the same word over and over, so it just seems to shut off.
Connecting The Dots
Your brain doesn’t actually process every individual detail of something you are looking at; instead, it fills in the blanks with what it thinks should be there. That is why the illusion above works, and your brain is just assuming the lines are the only thing there. When things are unexpected, it will take up more of the processing power in your brain, and this can cause your brain to create shortcuts by just filling in the blanks or connecting the dots on its own without fully processing what you’re looking at.