4. We can memorize only 3-4 things at a time
Studies show that our brain can store no more than 3-4 pieces of information at once. In addition, this info can only be preserved for 20-30 seconds. After this time, we forget it unless we keep refreshing it in our memory over and over again.
For instance, you are driving and talking on the phone (don’t do that!). The person on the other end gives you a number, but you can’t write it down so you try to memorize it instead. You repeat the number again and again, so as to preserve it in your short-term memory until you can disconnect and write it down.
By the way, the fact that we find it easier to remember 3-4 pieces of information at a time explains why so many things consist of 3-4 digits or lines. This applies to phone and credit card numbers and even to the paragraph you’re reading!
5. Our visual perception of things differs from their actual appearance
Our brain constantly processes information received from sensory organs. It analyzes visual images and interprets them in a form accessible to us.
- For example, the reason for us being able to read a text quickly lies in the fact that we’re not actually reading it. We simply notice the first and last letters of each word, and intuitively fill in the rest, based on our past experience. As the saying goes: “It dsoen’t mtater in waht odrer the ltetres apepar in a wrod, if the fsirt and the lsat lteters remian in palce.”
See? We look at groups of jumbled letters yet perceive them as proper words! And this doesn’t just happen with texts.
6. We spend 30% of our time daydreaming
Imagine you’re at work studying an important document. Suddenly, you realize that you’ve just read the same sentence three times in a row. Instead of analyzing the text, your mind was wandering.
Scientists from the University of California say that every day we spend 30% of our time daydreaming. Sometimes (for instance, during long trips) this share increases to as much as 70%, but there’s nothing wrong with it. Studies show that people who love to wander in the clouds tend to be more creative. Also, they’re better at solving problems and getting rid of stress.