Some things, once seen, cannot be unseen. And once we notice something we tend to see it everywhere. In psychology this is called perceptual vigilance or perhaps most commonly referred to as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Our brains are fantastic machines that rely heavily on pattern recognition, a characteristic which is essential for learning but can led it to pick up on the unremarkable. Here are 14 such tricks that after reading this slide you'll tend to see them everywhere.
Teal and Orange
Hollywood loves teal and orange. Once you've noticed the strong orange faces and blue backgrounds of many modern films, you'll never be able to tune out the strange, unnatural movie coloration again. Your eyes will hunger for the well-lit movie scenes of yesteryear, instead of having to squint painfully at the screen in the cinema in a subconscious attempt to see details in the dark, gloomy, "atmospheric" action sequence.
Toilet Paper Arrangement
Some people hang toilet paper so the loose end hangs down on the side nearest the toilet. Other, crazy, people hang their toilet paper so the loose end is on the wall side so you have to perform Olympic level gymnastics to reach it. Once noticed, you may find yourself questioning the sanity of the otherwise perfectly reasonable people who commit this atrocity.
Is Nelson a Younger Barney?
Young bully Nelson has the luxuriant brown hair and the classic pink shirt and blue trousers style of the older, and even less erudite, friendly neighbourhood alcoholic Barney. Is Nelson a younger Barney?
The word alphabet actually originates from the first two letters in the Greek alphabet; which are "alpha" and "beta." You've been looking at this word since primary school - why did you not notice this before? You just looked at the title again, didn't you?
Tipsy people walk funny and talk funny. The part of your brain that interprets the position of your body and coordinates movement, including the movement of the tongue and lips, is the cerebellum, and alcohol temporarily poisons the cerebellum. So every time you see a tipsy person walking, you're seeing their brain being poisoned!
Looking at Pictures
Someone gave the immortal Mitch Hedberg a picture of them as a child and said "Here's a picture of me when I was younger." He instantly quipped "EVERY picture is a picture of you when you were younger!" So now every time you look at a picture, you can see that some of the person's life has ebbed away, even if it is just a minute or two. Depressing, no?
Normally you can chat to a goodlooking member of the opposite sex and flirt like a boss. If you deliberately try to identify their verbal tics, though, the encounter can become hilariously frustrating. For example, Hollywood stunners Kristen Stewart's constant sighing and Keira Knightley's chopping off of words can quickly get under your skin, so only imagine what concentrating on the constant insertion of "like" into a sentence can do for your budding romance with the pretty girl next door.
Everything on the Outside is Dead
When you look in the mirror, everything looking back at you is dead. Your skin is dead, your hair is dead, only the inside of you is still alive. When other people look at you and talk to you, they are talking to the dead parts of you.
Milk Is Located at the Back of Shops
Okay you're just popping into the shop to buy milk. To get to the milk, though, most shops make you run the gauntlet of appetising treats, from the aromatic fresh bread at the door to the condensation on the neighbouring chocolate yoghurts in the refrigerated section. The question is - even if you now know the supermarket is trying to influence you, will you be able to pass up the yummy offers on your way to the milk?
The Fringe Shake
Now that its in fashion for teenage boys and grown men to cloak their eyes in a flirty sideswept fringe, you may notice the fringe shake. This is an almost constant shake of the head to the right side (if right-handed) or the left (if left-handed) which achieves a brief moment where light can enter the eyes. Similar to watching a crowd of mad cows shaking their way around a field, you can see a Mexican wave of fringe shakes every time you pass a group of cool teenage boys on the street.
Left Gaze Bias
You've always assumed that when one person is looking at another that they are looking straight on at their face. In fact, humans have a left gaze bias, which means we look at the right side of the other person's face. The domestic dog also has a left gaze bias, but only when looking at humans. Check it out the next time your furry friend is gazing adorably at you.
People Walking From Room to Room on the Phone
The advent of portable phones meant that people were not stuck to one spot while chatting on the phone. An odd urge for many people, though, is to walk from room to room while chatting and staring into space as they concentrate on their conversation. Even people standing waiting for a bus can have this unconscious movement from spot to spot for no good reason, which can make the wait for your bus highly entertaining.
Personal Space Invasion
According to a 2013 report in The Guardian, when other people get within about 40 centimetres of our face, we get stressed and take a step back to restore the space between us. The subtle back and forward of this delicate etiquette dance can especially be seen in crowded places like the Tube.
Everyone's Faces are Covered in Fur
When you're looking at other people's faces from the polite 40 centimetres away, then you mightn't notice this -- but everyone's face is covered with really really subtle fur. Only the palms and the soles of the feet are truly hairless, and everywhere else there is the fur we call hair. Some man-made exceptions do occur, especially on women who tackle upper lip hair with depilating wax.
- MSN: 22 Things You've Never Noticed (But Were Right In Front of Your Eyes]
- The Guardian: Hollywood's New Colour Craze
- Dictionary.com: Alphabet
- Ataxia UK: Ataxia Caused by Alcohol
- Lincoln University: Left Gaze Bias in Humans, Rhesus Monkeys and Domestic Dogs
- The Guardian: Personal Space: How Close is Too Close?