Myths – shared beliefs that we all hold – have a way of making it through the generations as folklore, turning to hardened fact. But the thing is, there is seldom science or hard proof behind the hard facts. There are dozens, probably more, of things – whether you call them legends, superstitions, myths, or what have you – that fall into this category. This list presents ten commonly believed myths.
10. Opposites Attract
Although we’ve been told for years that opposites attract, the opposite, ironically, is true. Opposites attract, but those of like mind (frequency, having the same goals), have a better chance of attracting something permanent. Psychologists do admit that we look for others who are like us, as we prefer similarity over difference in our mates. Although we aren’t looking for an identical twin, we aren’t searching for our polar opposite, either. Humans tend to seek out like personalities to complement their own. One medical study concluded that “in Western society, humans use neither an ‘opposites-attract’ nor a ‘reproductive-potentials-attract’ rule in their choice of long-term partners, but rather a ‘likes-attract’ rule based on a preference for partners who are similar to themselves across a number of characteristics.” *interesting article on Opposite Attractions*
9. Reading in dim light damages your eyesight
While reading in dim light might make you squint or make reading more difficult, ophthalmologists stress that it has no real bearing on your eyesight. This myth likely stemmed from years gone by when we only had candles to read by, and that would obviously be a very low light level. You can still see and read under that light level because our system’s so flexible, but you would’ve been working really hard. Your eyesight won’t get worse with age more than anything, so if you want to read by a dim light, do it while you are young and still can.
NOTE: TV ? Maybe a different story, as the medical eye professionals see it:
Do kids damage their eyes if they sit too close to the television? If they sit approximately 50 centimetres away they’ll very quickly get eye fatigue and if they stay there for long periods, a certain percentage of kids will be susceptible to developing myopia, or short sightedness. For anyone watching TV the ideal distance is between 1.5 metres and two metres. You should also make sure not to rely on the TV as the only light source in the room.
8. You lose most of your body heat through your head
Remember when your mother or grandmother used to tell you, as a child, to cover your head before going outside in the cold? “You’ll lose all your body heat if you don’t wear a hat,” they would say. Well, Mom and Grandma didn’t know best on this one. Losing most of your heat through your head is a popular myth. Head heat loss is not the majority of body heat lost. Head heat loss changes with how cold it is. The lower the temperature, the higher percentage head heat loss. Head heat loss is linear with temperature. At 0 degrees Centigrade, up to about 30 to 35% of heat could be lost through your head at rest.
7. Shaving Causes Hair to Grow Back Faster or Thicker
This popular notion was disproved as early as 1928 and more recent studies have confirmed that shaving has no effect on hair growth (or regrowth). BMJ researchers speculate that when shaved hair regrows, it lacks the fine taper seen at the end of unshaven hair, making it appear coarser. And the fact that it hasn’t been exposed to light may make it seem darker than other hair.
6. We only use 10% of our brains
This popular myth dates back to 1907 but didn’t originate, as once believed, with Albert Einstein. Now that we know much more about neuroscience than we did 100 years ago it is safe to say that we use much more than 10 percent of our brains. BMJ researchers said that high-tech methods of studying the brain have not identified any inactive areas.
5. Hair and Fingernails Continue to Grow After Death
According to forensic anthropologist experts this idea is not only poppycock but not even possibleť. Dehydration of the body after death can cause the skin to shrink around hair and nails, giving the illusion that they have grown. But as all tissue requires energy to sustain their functions, growth is not possible once our body has shut down.
4. Animals can predict natural disasters
A prevalent opinion is that animals can detect certain events, like earthquakes, as soon as they happen, even if the originating event is a great distance away. While this ability wouldn’t make much of a difference to people at the scene of the disaster, it could conceivably assist those located farther from the epicenter. A few researchers even believe animals may be able to sense the precursors to these events before they actually strike. However, hard evidence of this is extremely limited; most of the evidence is anecdotal. Animals do have keener, more developed senses of smell, hearing, and sight, so maybe able to better detect something than humans at the time something is happening, but they don’t possess a “sixth sense” that warns them when the sky is about to fall.
3. If you drop a penny from the top of a tall building, it can kill a pedestrian on the ground.
This myth is so common it has even become a bit of a cliche in movies. The idea is that if you drop a penny from the top of a tall building (such as the Empire State Building) – it will pick up enough speed to kill a person if it lands on them on the ground. But the fact is, the aerodynamics of a penny are not sufficient to make it dangerous. What would happen in reality is that the person who gets hit would feel a sting – but they would certainly survive the impact.
2. A Dog’s Mouth is Cleaner Than A Human’s Mouth
When we talk about the cleanliness of a mouth, we’re really talking about the amount and type of bacteria it contains. The kind of bacteria found in a human mouth and a dog mouth depends on what’s been there recently. Unlike dogs, humans typically do not eat raw meat, garbage, and small animals. Given a dog that just locked its jaws around a decomposing squirrel, we might say that the dog’s mouth is less clean than a human’s mouth.
1. Lightning Never Strikes the Same Place Twice
In fact lightning favors certain spots, particularly high locations. The Empire State Building is struck about 25 times every year. Ben Franklin grasped the concept long ago and mounted a metal rod atop the roof of his home, then ran a wire to the ground, thereby inventing the lightning rod.