There is one area of research within psychology that is probably not so well-known, that just blows my mind. I believe it is called embodiment or embodied cognition.
I haven't researched this phenomenon to such a degree that I can explain it well, but I believe it has something to do with the fact that our mind makes sense of abstract concepts by using metaphors (with physical reality/input of sensory system). Which has interesting effects... Here are outcomes of some recent studies.
- Not only do our gestures (body language) show what we think, but they can feed back and alter our thinking.
- When filling out a questionnaire about the importance of various subjects, people holding heavy clipboards viewed things as more important than people holding light clipboards.
-To people who were made to believe that a book was important, the book actually felt physically heavier.
- After people had just washed their hands, they judged certain moral actions as less wrong than people who had not washed their hands.
- If a person is physically cold, the person likes and desires romantic movies more, but only if the person associates the movies with psychological warmth.
- "People who recalled, were preoccupied with, or suppressed an important secret estimated hills to be steeper, perceived distances to be farther, indicated that physical tasks would require more effort, and were less likely to help others with physical tasks. The more burdensome the secret and the more thought devoted to it, the more perception and action were influenced in a manner similar to carrying physical weight. Thus, as with physical burdens, secrets weigh people down."
I could go on! There are more studies like this. Fascinating...
This knowledge may actually be useful for us.. Our behavior, perceptions, mindsets and thoughts are all interconnected and all influence each other... In fascinating ways. This also clearly shows that we do not all perceive the same world, but that our perceptions of the world are very subjective, and differ in an infinite number of ways, influenced by the smallest details of our existence!