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Sunday, March 2, 2014

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10 unsolved mysteries of the human body and mind

HealthyAeon - 4:48 AM

by Anna LeMind
Learning Mind

Modern science is still puzzled by some of the features of human physiology and psychology. British scientists ranked the most inexplicable ones:

1. Ability to blush with shame

Scientists have no clear explanation as to why people start blushing when they get into an awkward position or are caught in a lie. It looks as if they were sending a signal saying to others: “I am a liar and cheat”.

In science there is only a hypothesis claiming that in such a way nature makes people lie less. And a red-faced liar sends a signal to the people around him to show that he is ready to apologize, which makes other people more likely to forgive him. Perhaps the ability to blush helped decrease aggression in primitive society.

2. Laughter

It is still unclear what exactly makes a person laugh and have fun. After all, senses of humor differ. Scientists believe that laugh is necessary to balance the mental processes, such as to relieve stress, worrying and angst. Laugh produces natural intoxicating substances – endorphins and antidepressants.

3. Intimate questions

Throughout the evolution, human has lost almost all body hair. But why did he retain pubic hair? According to scientists, pubic hair grows at a point of the cluster of glands and odors. And hair is a perfect tool to spray these odors.

4. Desire to create works of art

Human simply can not live without enjoying beautiful things even if they have no utilitarian purpose. Why does it happen?

Scientists think that beauty in some way helps people build better utilitarian objects. For example, a comfortable environment is perceived by most people as aesthetically attractive, and an uncomfortable one – as ugly. Creating works of art, a person develops his brain and more efficiently uses it to cope with practical tasks and situations.

5. Superstition

There is no rational sense in superstitions, but they exist. Isn’t it paradoxal?

According to psychologists, the vitality of superstitions is based on a will to have control over difficult situations. We become more superstitious when we are in trouble and prefer to shift the blame onto a black cat rather than admit our own mistakes.

6. Altruism

Living for others is a unique innate feature of human. What makes people help others without any benefit? Scientists think that altruism is required when choosing a partner, in both men and women. Devotion to others makes a person more attractive in the eyes of the opposite sex.

Parenting is a very complex process, and our ancestors tried to choose a partner that would become a good and devoted parent. A manifestation of selflessness shows this ability in the best way, so genes related to altruism could be retained in the process of evolutionary selection.

7. The habit of picking one’s nose

Although this habit leads to pulling out little nostril hairs, which help filter out dust and dirt from the air we breathe, everyone, from children to adults, does that (secretly or in public).

According to scientists, the meaning of this habit is hidden not in the process, but in its result. Indeed, many eat their snots. Disgusting? Not at all! Some researchers seriously believe that this is a good way to strengthen the immune system! :) The nose filters out a large number of various bacteria. Once in the stomach, this “mixture” works as a universal vaccine. In addition, American psychologists argue that nasal massage boosts brain activity.

8. Kissing

No one knows how and why the tradition of kissing got a sexual context. There are several assumptions, but which is the most reasonable?

Scientists think that maybe kiss is a kind of vaccination method, invented by nature. Saliva contains a variety of bacteria, 80% of which are similar in all people and 20% are individual. Through a kiss, these bacteria are transmitted from person to person and cause a revival of other microorganisms, giving impetus to the immune system and triggering the formation of antibodies.

9. Prolonged adolescence

Even in our closest relatives, the great apes, the transition from adolescence to adulthood is not so long. In chimpanzees, sexual maturity occurs at the age of about 5 years old when the childhood ends, in humans the period of adolescence lasts from 11 to 20 years. Why?

According to scientists, the teenage period is a late historical acquisition. The duration of puberty depends on the level of social development. The higher it is, the wider is the band between the end of puberty and the onset of final maturity.

10. Dreams

Our ancestors existed were firmly sure that during sleep a person’s soul temporarily leaves his body to wander the world. And we dream the things our soul sees in its journey. Later, the Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud suggested that dreams are a reflection of our unconscious desires. But today, most scientists reject it, claiming that dreams occur in our brain as a result of random electrical activity.

Every 90 minutes, the brain stem randomly sends electrical impulses. Forebrain, responsible for analytical work, desperately tries to decode these signals, and the only way to do that is to have dreams. However, they are not completely useless. Psychologists think that dreams are a way to better understand ourselves and explore our hidden desires and fears.

Also dreams probably facilitate the transfer of information obtained during the day from short-term to long-term memory.

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