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.