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Psychologists Share The Most Important Studies That Almost Nobody Knows About

Psychologists Share The Most Important Studies That Almost Nobody Knows About

Psychologists Share The Most Important Studies That Almost Nobody Knows About

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Have you ever wondered what some of the craziest, most groundbreaking psychological studies were? You're not alone. Here are some true mind-benders---and they may challenge what you think you know.

This is just creepy, and is a stark reminder of how psychological illness was assessed only decades ago.

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The Rosenhan study was performed in the 1970s but is still relevant today.

The researchers feigned hallucinations to enter psychiatric hospitals. Afterward, they behaved as they normally would. They told the staff they felt fine and no longer experienced hallucinations. In the hospital, they were diagnosed with mental disorders (mainly schizophrenia), forced to stay for a prolonged period (average of 19 days), forced to admit to having those illnesses, and had to agree to take antipsychotics as a condition of their release.

The accidental second part of the study occurred when offended clinicians requested Rosenhan send actors to their psychiatric hospital. They felt they'd be able to distinguish who were the real patients and who were the fake ones. Out of 193 patients over 3 months, the staff rated 41 as imposters, and 42 as suspected imposters. Rosenhan had sent no one.

Nature versus nurture? Or unintentional bias?

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The Pygmalion effect comes to mind.

In one study, the researchers told the teachers they were testing to see which students were gifted. Instead, they selected a few students at random, then told the teachers that they were the gifted ones.

When the researchers returned later, the students they had selected were, in fact, performing better than the other ones, even though they weren't gifted.

Tl;dr higher expectations of people lead to increased performance.

Memory is malleable. This has enormous implications regarding the reliability of eyewitness testimony.

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A lot of Beth Loftus' work on memory is super important and worth knowing. In short, they show that memory is fallible and can be tricked--you can make a person remember an event that never happened pretty easily. Her research is one of the big reasons why eye-witness testimony should be often taken with a grain of salt--someone who's "absolutely sure" they remember seeing the defendent...might have just seen some other person and may not be remembering as clearly as they think.

Increased expectations correlated with unreliable outcomes are exactly what casinos depend upon.

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B.F. Skinner's "Skinner Box" experiments, which accidentally laid the groundwork for everything from slot machines to Loot Boxes in modern video games.

He built a box, with a lever inside that would deposit some food into the box. He introduced a pigeon, and the pigeon figured out fairly quickly that the lever gives it food, and so pulls the lever whenever it's hungry.

However, when Skinner modified the box so that the lever would not give food every time, but on a pseudo-random schedule, requiring the bird to pull the lever multiple times to receive the food, the bird would no longer pull the lever only when it was hungry, but would compulsively pull the lever constantly.

Replace bird with Grandma, food lever with a slot machine, and Skinner with Casino, and you've got yourself a recipe to exploit the sh_t out of some desperate and bored people.

Herd mentality in action.

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A group is shown a symbol, such as the number 0. Each person is asked to say what they see. Every member of the group except 1 is part of the experiment. All of them give the same wrong answer, saying it is a 2, not a zero. The last person will often fold and also say 2 despite their eyes saying it is a 0. While some did say 0, all subjects took longer and felt a strong desire to keep the group consensus.

Also great party trick.

Edit: Shout out to u/ialen2 below for the links to the Asch experiments, they posted it minutes after me but it got buried.

These experiments show that addiction could have environmental as well as psychological triggers. Fascinating.

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Bruce Alexander's Rat Park experiments - showing that given normal living conditions and normal social bonds, rats will not become addicted to drugs even if those drugs are freely available.

Playing Mozart for your baby probably doesn't make it smarter. Can't hurt, though.

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The actual study regarding the effects on the brain after listening to Mozart. So many people believe "playing Mozart for your baby will make them smarter."

  1. The study was conducted on college students, not infants.
  2. Listening to Mozart only improved one aspect of cognition, which was spatial reasoning (the ability to figure out how objects can fit or be oriented).
  3. The effect was temporary, wearing off after less than an hour.

The reason that this study should be more well known is to understand the breakdown between what a study finds and how the message is misinterpreted by the time it disseminates to the general public.

I'm guilty of this, but being conscious of it can make a huge difference.

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Martin Seligman's book, Learned Optimism, made me much more mindful about something called "explanatory styles." People tend to trend towards optimistic or pessimistic explanatory styles to describe events (good or bad) that happen to them.

Pessimists tend to explain bad things as:

  • personal ("This is all my fault"),
  • permanent ("This will last forever"), and
  • pervasive ("This will undermine everything else I do").

Pessimists will also tend to explain good things as the opposite:

  • non-personal ("This only happened because of the rest of my team"),
  • non-permanent ("This won't last"), and
  • non-pervasive ("This was a one-time fluke in this one project").

Optimists will do the opposite. They explain good events as personal, permanent, and pervasive while providing explanations to bad things that treat them as temporary setbacks.

As a natural cynic and pessimist, I'm doing my best to catch myself when I fall into a cycle of pessimism, and trying to find evidence to suggest that bad things aren't as bad as I'm making them. It's really hard, but I think I'm slowly working towards a healthier balance.

This is nothing short of psychological torture, but speaks volumes on the power of suggestion.

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The Monster Study. In speech therapy, kids were given either only positive or only negative feedback and then their progress was charted. To explain this a little further, the kids in the negative feedback group were told that they had a severe speech impediment whether they actually stuttered or not. Kids who didn't even have a stutter developed severe stutters as a result of the researchers constantly telling them that there was a problem with their speech. After hearing it over and over again, they finally started to believe it. Such a messed up study.

Edit: Here's a quote :

To the non-stuttering youngsters ... who were to be branded stutterers, [the graduate student conducting the study] said: "The staff has come to the conclusion that you have a great deal of trouble with your speech... You have many of the symptoms of a child who is beginning to stutter. You must try to stop yourself immediately. Use your will power... Do anything to keep from stuttering... Don't ever speak unless you can do it right. You see how [the name of a child in the institution who stuttered severely] stutters, don't you? Well, he undoubtedly started this very same way."

The children ... responded immediately. After her second session with 5-year-old Norma Jean Pugh, Tudor wrote, "It was very difficult to get her to speak, although she spoke very freely the month before." Another in the group, 9-year-old Betty Romp, "practically refuses to talk," a researcher wrote in his final evaluation. "Held hand or arm over eyes most of the time." Hazel Potter, 15, the oldest in her group, became "much more conscious of herself, and she talked less," Tudor noted. Potter also began to interject and to snap her fingers in frustration. She was asked why she said 'a' so much. "Because I'm afraid I can't say the next word." "Why did you snap your fingers?" "Because I was afraid I was going to say 'a.'"

All the children's schoolwork fell off. One of the boys began refusing to recite in class. The other, eleven-year-old Clarence Fifer, started anxiously correcting himself. "He stopped and told me he was going to have trouble on words before he said them," Tudor reported. She asked him how he knew. He said that the sound "wouldn't come out. Feels like it's stuck in there."

The sixth orphan, Mary Korlaske, a 12-year-old, grew withdrawn and fractious. During their sessions, Tudor asked whether her best friend knew about her 'stuttering,' Korlaske muttered, "No." "Why not?" Korlaske shuffled her feet. "I hardly ever talk to her." Two years later, she ran away from the orphanage and eventually ended up at the rougher Industrial School for Girls --- simultaneously escaping her human experimentation.

Could this be a hint as to why some people stay in abusive relationships?

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A.E., Fisher, conducted an experiment with puppies.

With three test groups, puppies in the first group were treated kindly every time they approached a researcher. Puppies in the second group were punished for approaching the researchers. And puppies in the third group were randomly treated kindly or punished.

The study found that the third group of puppies wound up being the most attached to the researchers.

This doesn't bode well for global human overpopulation.

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Universe 25 by Calhoun.

Basically a study of overpopulation. The population of 8 mice in a 9 square feet pen initially doubled every 55 days before growth dropped dramatically after almost a year. Between this point and the final 600th day, the population saw utter breakdown. Aggressive females expelled their young, and the males split into two categories. One was very aggressive violent males who would attack each other, and the other was the 'beautiful ones' - they completely withdrew from mating and all sexual behavior and spent every waking moment grooming. Breeding eventually totally stopped and the behaviors of the mice remained the same until death.

Calhoun has suggested this social breakdown might be the fate of humans.

A stunning insight into the biological need to feel loved.

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Harry Harlow's experiments on attachment helped establish the modern paradigm for attachment theory (Mary Ainsworth's "strange situation" experiment was also integral to attachment theory, Harlow's study came first).

Basically (this is a very general summary), Harlow and his assistants cared for the physical needs of these baby rhesus monkeys. Some of the monkeys were given a "mom" that they could nurse from but was not comforting/soft. Other monkeys had a "mom" that they couldn't nurse from but were covered with soft cloth. Both groups of monkeys would be scared by a loud toy.

The principals of strict behaviorism (which was thriving at this time in the history of psychology) would lead you to think that the monkeys who had the mother who could nurse them would find comfort in her while scared, and that the monkeys with the soft "mom" who couldn't nurse would not turn to their moms for comfort.

The opposite happened. The monkeys with the soft moms clung to them for comfort after being scared. The monkeys with the nursing moms did not run to them for comfort.

This was groundbreaking because it threw a curveball at behaviorism and set the course for more research into child development and attachment. Choosing the soft mom and rejecting the nursing mom demonstrated that it's not enough just to have your physical needs met (i.e. food), we also need comfort and reassurance to form attachments to caregivers.

Sounds like how a certain "News" network operates...

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One that hasn't been mentioned yet: the selective attention experiment: tell people to pay really close attention to one thing and they're likely to miss even the most obvious other things that are happening. If this reminds you at all of the echo chambers in certain 'news' organizations these days, you just may have spotted the gorilla...

Compelling evidence that racism is learned, rather than inherent.

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In the late 1960s, a schoolteacher named Jane Elliot wanted to teach her Iowa 2nd grade students about racism in a way that would really hit home, but how? None of them had seen a black person except on television.

She realized her class was evenly divided between brown eyed and blue eyed pupils (Elliot, herself, had green eyes) and an idea came to her.

One day she walked into class with a Webster's Dictionary that she had covered with brown paper. She announced to her class that this book contained breakthrough science that proved brown-eyed people were inferior to blue-eyed people, and that class would be "adjusted" accordingly.

She segregated her students by eye color for the day.

During the day's lesson, whenever blue-eyed ('superior') students made mistakes, she encouraged them to keep trying. When brown eyed ('inferior') students made mistakes, she said "See? This is because you're inferior."

When brown-eyed students did well, she didn't acknowledge it. When blue-eyed students did well, she lavished praise upon them and lauded their 'superiority'.

As the day wore on, brown-eyed students who had previously been good students began to become disruptive, visibly dejected and expressed a lack of interest in school. Blue-eyed students--even those who had previously been 'bad' students--saw a tremendous improvement in their performance, demeanor, and behavior.

The next day, Elliot announced to the class that she had made a mistake in her reading. Actually, it was the brown-eyed students were superior and the blue-eyed students were inferior.

The class was again segregated, and praise or criticism was leveled to each student accordingly as it had been the day before. Blue-eyed students began acting out and talking about quitting school, while brown-eyed students began to score high marks, learn quicker, and behaved better.

On the third day, she announced to the class that the book was just a dictionary--there was no study, and that she wanted to teach them how judging people based on the color of their skin felt by choosing to treat them differently based on the color of their eyes.

Although the experiment sounds cruel, most of her students interviewed decades later expressed positive opinions about it.

This is due to the autokinetic effect—tiny movements in the eye, in dark environments, can create the illusion of movement.

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Asch's and Sherif's studies on conformity.

Asch's was a participant was given a line, then a set of three lines of varying lengths, and they had to match the length to the standalone line. Even when they were very obviously completely different lines, a confederate would answer B (if the correct answer was C) and the participant would often go along with that.

Sherif's study was similar. The experimenter would shine a laser pointer (or something) on a blank wall. They would then ask the participants how far it moved (even though it didn't). The first participant was a confederate and would say something like "oh about 4 inches" and then the next person, the participant would ballpark it from that, "like 6 inches" even though they clearly saw it didn't move.

Did you know that David Letterman owned a marshmallow factory? And that marshmallows are 95 percent air? You're welcome.

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The Stanford marshmallow experiment. They took kids and offered them one marshmallow now or two marshmallows fifteen minutes later. As kids got older they overwhelmingly chose the two over the one. The results show one of the major aspects of maturity: the ability to delay gratification and conceptualize future rewards. This is what makes (most of us) more sophisticated than kids.

Fear of loss, rather than the prospect of gain, may explain why people make strange financial decisions.

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Kahneman and Tversky's prospect theory, and loss aversion in particular.

If you win 10 dollars, you're only slightly happy, but you would be disproportionately sadder if you lost 10 dollars, even though the amount of money is the same. People are more impacted by loss than gain, and this explains many of the weird illogical money decisions people make.

Why buy bonds/GIC's when stocks historically make more money? These psychologists won the Nobel prize for their work.

A valuable clue about how humans learn about actions and consequences. Like Jane Elliot's experiment, it hints that racism is a learned habit.

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Basically, the researcher, Bandura, had kids in the experimental group watch an adult hit, kick, and otherwise abuse a Bobo doll. Then, when the kids were released to play with it on their own, those who saw adults abuse the doll also used it in that way, hitting and kicking and yelling at it. This has lots of implications about how we acquire behavior but the one that is most important to me is about parenting. A parent who yells at or goes so far as to even hit their kid is essentially doing the same thing as in this experiment; they're setting an example for the child's behavior. And as we see with Bobo dolls, the child will learn.

But yeah, this experiment essentially proved the concept of modeling, which brought new elements into how psychologists saw learning.

Edit: oh yeah and there were also observed effects when the adults were rewarded or punished for beating up the Bobo doll. It showed that people learn about consequences from watching others.

The Spacing Effect suggests that repetition learning is most effective for long-term retention of information.

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For the sake of remembering all these psychological experiments, Ebbinghaus's memory experiments are quite relevant to know about.

His experiments showed that people forget around 50% of what they have learned after about a day (and 75% after 2 days, and so on) unless they try - and succeed - at recalling it. Then you forget more slowly the next time. If you space your recall tests right before you would naturally forget then this is the most efficient way to remember something in the long run (called the Spacing Effect). There is software that can automate this for you in the event you ever need to memorize something (which almost everyone does at least occasionally, and students do constantly).

Another finding related to his work in memory is that if you have a test in a few days cramming is better for remembering, but only in the extremely short run: you'll forget it all after about a week. So if you need to pass a test tomorrow: cram. If you need to pass a test in 6 weeks, 6 months, or 6 years: spaced repetition.

The Backfire Effect may explain why some people cling to false beliefs despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

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The Backfire Effect was discovered in the 1950s when a researcher infiltrated a UFO cult that predicted the end of the world, and their group's rescue in the nick of time by a group of benevolent aliens who represented the astral incarnation of Jesus Christ.

When the world didn't end on the predicted date, the researcher was watching specifically to see how they would respond to their worldview being so dramatically disproven. Instead of admitting they were wrong, they doubled down and invented reasons why they'd been right all along.

On further study, the backfire effect seems to affect primarily people with conservative worldviews -- people who believe false conservative ideas are more likely to hang on to those false ideas even after presented with debunking evidence. (Liberals are also motivated to resist evidence that debunks false liberal ideas, but are less likely to invent false justifications for their resistance.)

Here's a great article that describes it.

Similar to the Backfire Effect, which also demonstrated certain people's propensity to cling to easily disprovable beliefs.

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The Illusion of Truth experiments are extremely relevant in today's society, particularly on Reddit.

There are a few basic tenets.

  1. People are more likely to believe something if they hear it multiple times, even if they know it's a lie.
  2. If people hear information and then find out later that it was a lie the original information they heard is sticky and they will be more likely to remember it is true. This can occur even if the lie were discovered very quickly.

Kahneman's study showed that the way two questions are phrased effects how people will answer—even if the questions are essentially identical.

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Kahneman and Tversky's Prospect Theory. Kahneman recently won the Nobel for this and other work. It shows that people are really bad at understanding probabilities and are very influenced by how the message is framed, and whether it is framed as a gain or loss. For a simple example, asking "This surgery has an 80% chance of failure. Do you still want to have it?" Vs. "This surgery has a 20% success rate, do you want to have it?" Gets different answers even though the question is the same. The actual scenarios they used in the original experiments are fascinating and available online- look it up! It definitely changed how I interpret probabilistic decisions.

The bonds we form as infants may predict the nature of our future relationships. Once again, the battle of nature versus nurture.

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Not a psychologist, but a psychology major. To add on to the many studies already mentioned, I think Mary Ainsworth's Strange situation is pretty important. She came up with the attachment theory. Basically saying how you form relationships as an infant predicts how you form relationships as an adult.

Logical, critical thinking is improved in the context of societal rules, rather than contextual objectivity.

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The Wason selection task.

Basically "Are people able to understand if/then statements?" as a larger indicator to ask if people are critical thinkers.

Less than 10% of people got the right answer in more than one study, but if you put it into a context of societal rules, there is a pronounced improvement of how many people get the right answer.

And finally, a study that explains SO MUCH about life in the age of social media.

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The cognitive dissonance experiment (Festinger) with the result that is the opposite of what you might expect: people following someone's orders were more likely to later decide they agreed with those orders when they were paid LESS to do so. The dissonance: our brains can't handle the conflict between our actions and our thoughts, so it adjusts our beliefs to fit our actions. "If I did that (especially without getting paid much), I must have believed in it." In a replication experiment: If you read scripts to raise funds for a randomly selected organization, you will believe more in that organization (unless you were paid a lot to read the words).

Implication: Signing loyalty oaths actually makes you more loyal (unless you were forced to, and keep that in mind). Also: Sharing statements on social media doesn't just reflect beliefs, it deepens them.

Thanks to Reddit user Berkamin posing the following question: "Psychologists of Reddit: besides Pavlov's classically conditioned dogs, the Stanford prison experiment, and the childhood delayed gratification experiment, what other paradigm-establishing psychological experiments should everyone know about?"

Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.

People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.