5. We Assume that Strangers are Male


An experiment published last year presented computer simulated images of strangers. Throughout the generated silhouettes and bodies, most people assumed the images were a man, even when presented with a female body or silhouette

This puts a twist on gender inequality, but it isn’t new. Unknown figures, such as God or a new doctor are more often portrayed as or assumed to be a man.

4. We’re Easily Persuaded by Authority


Milgram’s experiments famously studied submissiveness to authority. An individual wearing a lab coat instructed subjects to “electrocute” an actor. The actor had consented and as the experiment continued subjects were asked to increase the voltage until the actor began to beg to stop.

Some began to doubt and show concern for the actor, but continued to increase the voltage as instructed. UK hustlers put this into effect by dressing as authority figures to gain social compliance.

3. We’re Not Born Equal

baby drum

The “practice makes perfect” theory was tested in a 2013 experiment, where people were tested on how much practice was necessary before they grasped the skills behind chess and music. Even thousands of hours practice did not make individuals experts.

This showed that without a natural affinity and talent for the task, you may improve at a craft, but are unlikely to be great.

2. We Lie and Cheat When We Feel Bad


A test was performed where students were given positive and negative feedback. After receiving the feedback, the students were given an opportunity to cheat another student out of earning money.

The results showed that positive feedback prevented students from cheating one another. This is because high self-esteem makes it difficult to justify acting immorally due to positive self-perception while low self-esteem makes it easier to excuse lying and cheating.

1. We Feel Less Empathy for Other Races


A study performed in Italy on pain relief showed clips of hands being pricked with needles, while subjects’ brain activity and heart rates were observed.

During the clips researchers noted that subjects had a stronger emotional response to hands being pricked of their own race. Even when compared to a purple hand being pricked, there was still a stronger response than to another race.

While some of these results may not surprise you, having them confirmed is pretty disappointing. Hopefully you still have faith in the inherent good of mankind.