Psst! No one cares about your bad hair day! Three common misconceptions dispelled in new book
23:07 GMT, 28 October 2012
Bad hair day No one cares
You may think you know how the world works, but in his new book, You Are Not So Smart, David McRaney argues that we often get it very wrong. Here, he reveals the truth about three common misconceptions…
EVERYONE IS STARING AT YOU
When we feel self-conscious, we feel certain we are being judged. Whether you're walking into a crowded room, or on a first date, the fear can be crippling. But studies show most observers are wrapped up in themselves and unless you point something out ('Look at me – my hair is an absolute disaster!') they have little interest in you.
In one study, psychologists asked a student to enter a crowded lecture theatre after everyone had sat down, wearing an embarrassingly zany Barry Manilow T-shirt. The student was convinced half the crowd were laughing at him. But barely a quarter even noticed his T-shirt.
Think everyone is staring at you They probably aren't
YOU'LL MEET MR RIGHT IN THE PUB
if the first time you meet someone you are both holding a chilled glass of wine, your relationship might not get off to the best start.
One study showed that strangers who met over hot coffee were remembered as 'generous and caring', but when iced coffee was served they were 'difficult, stand-offish and hard to talk to'. When we feel warm, some deeper part of the brain registers the word 'hot'.
This physical sensation can get mixed up by the brain with the emotional significance of the event, and the situation might get lodged in an emotional sense as hot.
Having a date over an icy drink in the pub Better switch to a warm red if you want to meet Mr Right
BREAKING YOUR DIET IS A DISASTER
Anyone who's been on a diet will be familiar with that disappointment when willpower evaporates and an unstoppable chocolate craving strikes.
But you're not in as much control over this process as you think. Experts now believe just at the point where your chocolate/Facebook/smoking habit is about to be broken for ever, the brain may make a last-ditch effort to drag you back to your old ways.
Scientists call this the 'extinction burst' and, actually, it's a good sign — this is the bad habit's final fling.
Breaking a diet Don't worry, it might just be your bad habit's 'final fling'
Extracted from You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney, 8.99, Oneworld. 2012 David McRaney. To order a copy for 7.99 (incl p&p) call 0843 382 0000