Your Brain Trusts Your Eyes More Than Your Hands
Let's say that you're eating a sandwich (if you're not, please go make one so that this analogy is more compelling). Eating a sandwich is, on a technical level, a complicated process. You have to aim your hand, pick up the sandwich without crushing or dropping it, and deliver it to your mouth without spilling its delicious contents. It sounds simple because you do it often, but if you've suffered brain damage, or are an idiot baby, then there's going to be lettuce and turkey all over the floor. It only feels routine because your brain is doing most of this automatically. You don't have to consciously remind yourself to orient your hand in the right direction for optimal lunch acquisition; your brain handles it based on the visual information it's receiving.
So here's where it gets weird. A study asked participants to hold sticks with a weight hanging off one side, then asked them to judge which side was heavier. This was an easy task, even when the participants were asked to close their eyes, because the study was not performed on puppies or corpses. But then participants were asked to determine the heavier side when looking at an image of the stick that was reflected with mirrors, and their aptitude completely vanished. It didn't matter that they were physically holding the stick. Their brains went with what their eyes were telling them, even if what their eyes were telling them contradicted what their hands said.
Xu, Et. Al./Northwestern UniversityOnce again proving that the greatest asset in science is an unending line of undergraduates willing to look dumb in a research journal for $5.
The researchers then explained the mirror trick to the participants, but that didn't help at all. Even though people consciously knew that the image they were looking at was being manipulated, their brains still made the wrong call because what was wrong felt right. Which sounds like the premise of a bad country song, not the motivations of the glob of meat that makes us sentient.
This isn't really a problem, because unless you're an action movie character, you're not often forced to navigate an elaborate mirror maze. Whenever jerk scientists aren't trying to trick your brain, making automatic judgments based on your vision is a good call, because it works 99% of the time. But this is a good demonstration of how much we rely on our brains to handle countless little tasks on autopilot so that we can focus our conscious brainpower on the big picture, like getting angry about TV shows on Twitter.
Your Brain Has An Ingrained Clockwise Bias (And It Affects How You Make Out)
We're going to talk about kissing here, so grab your partner (or another sandwich, if you're single). Brains, as you hopefully already know, have two hemispheres. And while the idea that people are either right-brained creatives or left-brained logicians is a vastly oversimplified myth, many of the brain's functions are indeed crammed into one hemisphere, such as language skills mostly being the domain of the left hemisphere, while the right hemisphere handles spatial awareness.