We are constantly learning new information and believing almost anything we are told, but as it turns out many of the most commonly believed ‘facts’ are actually misconceptions.
The problem with our constant need to make sense of the world around us is that it allows myths to become widely believed myths, rather than digging deeper and questioning the information.
So prepare to be shocked, here is a list of 21 common misconceptions that are simply not true…
1. Goldfish do not have a 3 second memory
We have always been told that a goldfish’s memory is shallow at best (pun intended), yet new research has proven that goldfish can actually recall information for 3-5 months. A study tested a goldfish’s reaction to certain sounds whilst in captivity and found that the goldfish still responded to the sound up to 5 months later.
2. The Great Wall of China cannot be seen from space
The Great Wall of China has been noted in history since 1938 as the only man-made object that is visible from space, but NASA has confirmed that this is actually a space-myth. The visible wall theory was corrupted after a Chinese astronaut, Yang Liwei, claimed that he could not in fact see the wall from space and it was only partially visible using a 180mm lens with a digital camera.
3. We do not have 5 senses
Although we are taught that humans have 5 senses, researchers have announced that we can have up to 20 senses. A ‘sense’ is defined as “any system that consists of a group of sensory cell types that respond to a specific physical phenomenon and that corresponds to a particular group of regions within the brain where the signals are received and interpreted”. In addition to the well-known 5 senses, our other senses include tension, balance (equilibrioception), pain (nociception), thirst and hunger.
4. A black hole is not a hole, and perhaps not even black
It is in fact a massive and dense object with a great amount of gravitational pull. It’s gravitational pull is so strong that it merely feels like a hole because of the fact that it can suck matter into it. However, the researchers’ at the University of South Carolina explanation redefines black holes not as “holes” in space where matter and light inexplicably disappear into another dimension, but rather as spherical voids surrounded by an extremely durable form of matter. Stephen Hawking also adds that black holes “are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly come out in another universe.”
5. Einstein did not fail at maths
Sorry for ruining any hopes and dreams that you may have had of one day becoming a mathematical genius like Einstein, but contrary to popular belief Einstein did not fail at maths in school. As expected, Einstein excelled in mathematics in school and by the age of 12 Einstein took it upon himself to see if he could learn geometry and algebra on his own.. The rumor start from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and was laughed off by Einstein when he added “I never failed in mathematics… Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus.”
6. Waking a sleepwalker is not a big deal
Of course a sleepwalker will be dazed and confused when first woken but it is not as dangerous as we have been told. It could be perceived that a sleepwalker is in more danger of hurting themselves whilst sleepwalking than being awoken, but the kindest solution is to gently lead the sleepwalker back to bed.
7. Our tongue is not divided into sections
If you place salt on the tip of your tongue, you will taste salt. So why have we always believed that the tongue is divided into specific sections? We actually taste and and perceive taste at the same time using the entirety of our tongue. In fact, there is much more to taste than just sweet, salt, sour and bitter. Most scientists agree there is another distinct taste known as ‘umami’ to identify the taste of glutamate and many others believe there is a sixth taste receptor to identify fat.
8. Napoleon Bonaparte was not a shorty
Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the greatest conqueror’s in the world but he was always considered to be short in stature. At his time of death he was recorded as 5 feet 2 inches, which is actually just shy of 5 feet 7 inches in today’s modern international units. Although this still doesn’t scream tall, dark and handsome, the average height for a French male at the time was 5 feet 5 inches, so actually he was rather tall for his time.
9. You can file a missing persons report in under 24 hours
You do not have to wait 24 hours to file a missing persons report. In fact, you can file a report immediately as soon as you have serious concerns for a persons safety and welfare. This misconception was born in Hollywood as movies included this blatant lie to enhance the plot.
10. Bulls do not hate the colour red
Spanish matadors began using a small red cape, or muleta, in bullfighting around the 1700s. Ever since, it seems, people have perpetuated the color-charged myth that red makes bulls go wild. Yet research shows that bulls reacted halfheartedly to red, blue and white capes when they were motionless and only changed became aggressive when the flat was waved. It turns out bulls are colourblind and only react to the gestures of the bull fighter.. And maybe their costumes too.
11. Dogs do not sweat by panting
A dog actually sweats through their paw pads and uses panting as an effective way of regulating their body temperature.
12. Our brain does not run at 10%
A 2013 survey by the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research found almost two-thirds of Americans believe we only use 10 per cent of our brains, but where this misconception started is a mystery. Our brain is operating and utilizing most of its cells at all times, even when we are asleep. If we took away 90% of our brain or its cells, we wouldn’t be able to function at all.
13. Cops do not have to admit that they are undercover
Another myth started on the big screen – if you ask a police officer if they are a cop they do not legally have to come clean. Also known as ‘entrapment’, it is commonly misconceived that it’s illegal for a police officer to entrap a citizen into committing a crime. When you think about it, what would be the point of going undercover?
14. Bats are not blind
The phrase”blind as a bat” is wrong in so many ways. Not only can bats see really well (bigger bats can see up to 3 times better than humans), they also use echolocation by sending out streams of high-pitched sounds through their mouth or nose which bounces off nearby objects and send back echoes, allowing them to see through sound.