10 Interesting Psychology Facts: Insight Into the Human Psyche

10 Interesting Psychology Facts: Insight Into the Human Psyche

10 Interesting Psychology Facts: Insight Into the Human Psyche
10 Interesting Psychology Facts: Insight Into the Human Psyche

The human psyche is fascinating. Humans have been trying to analyze human emotion and behavior since the beginning of time. The study of behavioral sciences has become increasingly popular in the last 150 years.

Psychology is the behavioral science focused on the mind and mental processes. It is a multifaceted discipline that includes the study of cognitive processes, human development, clinical and social behavior.

A Bachelor of Science in psychology is perfect if you love studying human behavior and have a desire to help others. You can earn a psychology degree 100% online at Central Christian College of Kansas (CCCK). The comprehensive online program at CCCK helps students understand the human mind and prepares them for a wide range of professions. It is a fascinating subject. There are many fun facts about psychology that make it very interesting.

Psychology Facts About Life:

1) The meaning of mental health and illness has varied across time and culture.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association is the standard reference for the assessment and categorization of mental disorders. It was first published in 1957 and is revised every few years. The most recent edition, the DSM-5 was published in 2013.[1]

Each new edition reveals different and often incompatible terminologies. This has impacted the understanding and views of psychopathology (the scientific study of mental disorders). The definitions of cognitive and emotional behaviors have changed over time. Politico-cultural, racial, and gender prejudices have affected outcomes in the past. Diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric patients have evolved as well.

2) Insanity is a legal term, not a psychological one.

Insanity is not a diagnosis listed in the DSM. It’s actually a legal concept utilized to distinguish guilt from innocence. When the 1843 murder trial of Daniel M’Naghten was stopped on the grounds of insanity, people took notice. The British public became concerned that insane people could kill without fear of punishment.[2] The jury acquitted M’Naghten and he was committed to Bethlem Hospital.

Because of this case, the House of Lords (UK Parliament) created new guidelines to clarify the legal basis for criminal insanity. In most cases, those with mental illness are responsible for their crimes. The M’Naghten Rules grounded the insanity defense in the defendant’s ability to distinguish right from wrong. Almost immediately, the standard was adopted in the U.S.

3) Hysteria was first attributable to only women.

Hysteria was first described by ancient Egyptians in the second millennium BC. Hippocrates coined the term 'hysteria' from the Greek adjective hysterikos meaning "from the womb.” He ascribed hysteria to the wandering of the womb within the female body which caused disorders such as anxiety, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and a sense of suffocation. In the 18th century, hysteria became associated with the brain rather than the uterus.

Sigmund Freud argued that it originated from trauma and could affect both sexes. The concept of hysterical neurosis was not removed from the DSM until 1980. Hysterical symptoms are now considered manifestations of dissociative disorders.[3]

4) Bedlam was a famous London landmark but now means madness and chaos.

The Priory of Saint Mary of Bethlehem hospital was founded in 1247 as a religious order, with a mission to heal the sick and assist the poor. Londoners abbreviated Bethlehem Hospital to 'Bethlem' with a colloquial pronunciation of 'Bedlam'. Monks began accepting patients displaying mental illness and by 1403, these patients formed the majority of the Bethlem's clients. Paying visitors could gawk at patients who were often considered animals or freaks.

The hospital’s official stance was that Bethlem’s insane were meant to serve as object lessons about the cost of passion, vice, and sin. In time, the hospital's name came to mean ‘insanity’ and chaos in general. As one (possibly fictional) account of an 18th-century visitor put it “all the World became a Bedlam, and London and Westminster made but One Great Mad-House.”

5) Quakers opened the first psychiatric institution in America.

In 1806, Phillipe Pinel introduced the notion of “the moral treatment of insanity.” This encompassed the belief that kindness and sensitivity toward the patient are essential for proper care. The insane were no longer viewed as animals but as ‘brethren’ having an inner capacity for regaining self-control and recovering their reason.

Philadelphia Quakers opened the first moral-treatment asylum in America in 1817. The grounds were idyllic and aesthetically pleasing. Patients were kept busy with a variety of activities. The Quakers didn’t believe all patients would get well but felt they could still appreciate living in a gentler world and could find joy in such an environment.

6) Electroshock therapy is still practiced.

The term electroshock therapy, now known as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), may conjure up the horrors in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Since 1938, electric shocks were used to induce a therapeutic seizure with the aim of alleviating severe depression. At times in America’s history, the procedure was used to frighten, control, and punish patients.

Today, ECT is one of the safest, effective, and quick-acting treatments for depression. It’s effective 75-90% of the time with many patients feeling better within a few days of having a procedure. The primary side effect associated with ECT is memory loss which is usually only minor and temporary.

7) One of the Kennedy Clan underwent a lobotomy.

Walter Freeman and James Watts spearheaded the practice of lobotomy in the U.S. The procedure held out hope for the mentally ill at a time before the psychopharmacological revolution. Before that, they were often kept in asylums with little hope of a cure. On the surface, psychosurgery appeared to work for some lobotomized patients. JFK’s sister, Rosemary, received a frontal lobotomy at age 23 from Freeman and Watts. Her mother, Rose, reported the lobotomy was necessary because Rosemary “was upset easily and unpredictably…[sic] Some of these upsets became tantrums and rages, during which she broke things or hit out at people.” Rosemary remained institutionalized from her mid-twenties until her death at age 86.

Psychology facts about feelings:

8) Can a loved one be replaced by an imposter?

In 1923, Jean Marie Joseph Capgras reported a case of l'illusion des sosies (the illusion of asidoubles.) It meant a false belief that an identical-looking impostor or “double had replaced a real person.” Brain damage leads to the Capgras syndrome.

People who suffer from it lose the connection between the areas of the brain that recognize faces and associated emotions with facial recognition. Studies found these individuals feel nothing when shown photos of their loved ones. The lack of warm feelings makes Capgras victims think that the people around them are impostors, not their loved ones.

9) There are real “walking dead.”

Cotard’s syndrome is a condition that was first described as the ‘negation delirium’ (le délire de négation) by Dr. Jules Cotard in 1882. It has been sensationalized as “walking corpse syndrome.” The syndrome involves any one of a series of delusional beliefs that the individual is dead or has lost his/her soul. Some believe that the person is rotting on the inside, or has lost organs, blood, or body parts.

Neurologically, Cotard’s syndrome is thought to be related to the Capgras syndrome. Both syndromes are related to brain damage which leads to feelings of derealization (i.e., an altered experience or perception of the external world so that it seems unreal.)

10) Psychology is more popular than ever.

According to National Science Foundation, psychology is a more popular major than biological sciences, physics, mathematics, electrical engineering, computer science, and other social sciences.[4] The current climate has left the public more open to psychology as more Americans request help for mental health problems. About 42% of American adults have seen a counselor at some point in their lives, while 36% says they are open to the idea.

Psychological science is leading to innovative interventions to enhance lives. Earning an online Bachelor of Science in Psychology is the first step towards a rewarding career. CCCK’s program incorporates the intrinsic Christian faith and healing ideologies to make your learning a more enriching experience.


[1] American Psychiatric Association (n.d.). About DSM-5. Retrieved on May 27, 2018 from https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm/about-dsm

[2] Criminal Justice (n.d.). M’Naghten Standard. Retrieved on May 27, 2018 from http://criminal-justice.iresearchnet.com/forensic-psychology/mnaghten-standard/

[3] Gilman, S. L., King, H., Porter, R., Rousseau, G. S., and Showalter, E. (1993). Hysteria Beyond Freud. Berkley, CA: University of California Press. Retrieved from
https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft0p3003d3&chunk.id=d0e1173&toc.depth=1&toc.id=d0e760&brand=ucpress

[4] Clay, R. A. (2017, November). Trends report: Psychology is more popular than ever. Monitor on Psychology, 48(10).
Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/11/trends-popular.aspx