5 Strange Things Our Brains Are Programmed To Do

Behavior that once helped our ancestors to survive interferes with modern man. Over the past 12 thousand years, humanity has come a long way. At first, from a hunter-gatherer, the man turned into a sedentary farmer, then he built cities, mastered writing when agriculture gave way to an industrial society.

The cultural baggage of knowledge accumulates rapidly, but anatomy and physiology remain the same as those in the accumulated first Homo sapiens. We live in a world where there is no need to hide from predators and look for food for ourselves every day. Most of us have a roof over our heads and a shop nearby. But our brain is the same as it was 50 or 70 thousand years ago.

What did we inherit from our ancestors? Let’s try to find out what theories are accepted in the scientific community and how they explain our strange behavior today.

Read also: Brain And Free Will: How We Really Make Decisions

What is explained by the peculiarities of our brain?

1. Overeating

Believe it or not, obesity is now easier to die than from malnutrition. Too much food is a relatively new phenomenon.

Since the human brain developed under conditions of lack of food, our ancestors constantly had to look for various water sources; fruit trees, berries, roots – anything high in carbohydrates, which are the main source of energy. 50 thousand years ago, if our ancestors found a full clearing of berries or a fruit tree, the correct thing would be to eat as much as possible, without leaving for later. The hunter-gatherers had no surplus.

The world has changed since then. The brain is not. That is why we sometimes eat as much as it is not worth it.

The brain still cannot believe that its owner has enough food for tomorrow and next week.

2. Desire to look into the refrigerator

Some people have a habit of going into the refrigerator, looking at food, and closing it again. It would seem illogical. In fact, it is very logical. Let’s go back to the ancient man who was always ready to eat all the berries in the meadow or all the fruits from the tree. He did not have a constant source of food, and it certainly did not lie idle.

Our Paleolithic brain cannot believe that we have food until we see it. That is why we sometimes need to check if food is in place by looking in the refrigerator. The brain can make sure everything is in order and calm down. 

5 Strange Things Our Brains Are Programmed To Do
Image source: Reproduction/Internet

3. Dislike of healthy food

Everyone can remember how they did not like onions, dill, or herbs in childhood, but someone still hates them and considers them tasteless. It can be considered whims, but it is unlikely that this hostility came from nowhere.

In the days of hunter-gatherers, when plants were not yet cultivated in hunter-gatherers days when they could cause indigestion and poisoning. Tongue receptors were formed in such a way that a person could recognize healthy and unhealthy foods. Healthy food rich in carbohydrates tasted sweet, while harmful and dangerous food tasted bitter.

Therefore, our love of sweet and high-carb foods makes perfect sense. Indeed, 100 thousand years ago, no one could have suspected that one day easily digestible foods would be abundant, and the consumption of useful and necessary carbohydrates would begin to lead to obesity or diabetes.

4. Desire to gossip

Gossip is considered something mean, and unworthy. However, anthropologists agree that it is these conversations that help people in a team stick together.

Man is a social being; he cannot live fully alone for a long time. Even before creating the first large settlements, people lived in groups of 100-230, and most often, about 150 people. This number is not accidental. It indicates the number of permanent social connections that one person can maintain and is called the Dunbar number. It is through gossip that these social connections are maintained. People in a team discuss not some abstract things but socially significant ones.

It was vital for an ancient man in a small group to know who to turn to for help, who did not need to be trusted, and who was definitely worth fearing.

Simultaneously, it is unprofitable for those who are gossiped to be exhibited in black light. After all, if they speak badly about you, then after a while, they will stop helping you a while

Also read: 30 Tips To Help You Recover From a Burnout

5. Ability to see faces and figures where they are not

We often find faces in non-living objects; in clouds, chaotic drawings, among pebbles on the beach, even on the screen of an ultrasound machine. The ability to see faces, figures of people and animals is called pareidolia (from the ancient Greek para – “near,” “about,” “deviation from something” and eidolon – “image”) and, apparently, has an evolutionary basis.

Once upon a time, when there was still no science, man still tried to explain the phenomenal natures. Since the brain was predisposed to understand people and their motives, our ancestors began to personify natural phenomena; thunderstorms, rain, illness, or even death. Hence the phenomenon of apophenia grew (from the ancient Greek apophenia – “to make a judgment,” “to make explicit”) – the ability to see connections where there are none.

This mechanism is a cognitive bias – one of the systematic thinking errors that prevent you from thinking rationally but allows you to make decisions quickly. He helped our ancestors survive thousands, if not millions of years ago: thanks to her, a person could recognize the approach of a friend or enemy. Perhaps this is why we understand other people’s facial expressions so well. However, now this ability can lead to people seeing angels, aliens, or ghosts.

Adapted and translated by Wiki Avenue Staff

Sources: Life hacker