In everyday life, we rely on our five senses so much that we often forget how misleading they can be. Have you ever seen those optical illusions where the colors and shapes can trick the eye? They actually have more to do with tricking the brain than tricking the eye, and it comes down to how our brains interpret the information our eyes send.
It is also well known that our senses can influence one another. Our vision can drastically influence what we hear, and our sense of smell can influence what we taste. This is why you can never trust your senses fully. There are so many ways they can mislead you. It is actually happening on a daily basis without you realizing it!
Luckily, there are ways to make positive adjustments to your life by deceiving your brain or other people’s brains. Here are 5 ways to do so.
1. Make Yourself More Attractive Through Optical Illusions
There is a study which shows that wearing a shirt with the letter ‘T’ on the front actually makes you about 10% more attractive than if you were wearing a plain t-shirt. Should everyone be wearing a shirt with the letter T on it to make themselves more attractive? Of course not. That would look silly.
The researchers from Nottingham Trent University said that the letter T accentuates a man’s chest, which can be seen as a sign of masculinity. On women, it can accentuate the breasts, which is a sign of fertility, although the study was only conducted on men and this is just speculation.
Meanwhile, wearing an upside-down T has the opposite effect and reduces attractiveness, so avoid those at all costs when choosing your next shirt.
Although you won’t be likely to buy a shirt with the letter T, many shirts have shapes or writing on them. Make sure to get something that’ll accentuate your chest, such as an upside-down triangle.
2. Get Longer Legs Through the Muller-Lyer Illusion
In the Muller-Lyer illusion, the arrows at the end of each line makes our brain perceive the line to be longer or shorter than it really is.
When choosing your next pair of shorts or bathing suit, make sure to pick one that has a Y shape. Luckily, most swimsuits today are already designed in this fashion.
3. Make Your Food Taste Better
Research at Oxford University has shown that if you use heavier cutlery, your food will taste better. The researchers also found that customers were willing to pay 15% more for their food when using the heavier cutlery as opposed to lighter ones.
In our society, we tend associate heavier things (such as gold) with greater value. When eating food, our positive or negative judgements of the cutlery can influence our rating of the food. If we view the cutlery positively, we will enjoy the food more.
This is similar to how good looking food (artistic plating) can make your food taste better. Overall, if you want your guests to enjoy your food more, it is a good idea to bring out the heavy silverware.
4. Trick Your Brain into Eating Less
If you want to eat less food, then there’s one trick you can do involving the Delboeuf illusion, which makes your brain perceive something as larger than it actually is.
In order to decrease food intake, use smaller plates to trick your brain into thinking that the plate is fuller than it is. Your brain will actually think that you’ve eaten more than you really have.
A study reveals that when people are given larger bowls, they eat 16% more cereal than those given smaller bowls. The researchers claim that even educating people about the Delboeuf illusion isn’t enough to overcome it.
Instead they recommend using larger plates for healthy foods such as vegetables and smaller plates for less healthy foods. On top of all this, another study shows that by contrasting the plate’s color with the food’s color, you’ll be able to trick yourself into eating less.
5. Boost Your Immune System by Looking at Pictures
The fact that you can manipulate what your brain sees might not come as a surprise to you, but did you know that you can also manipulate your brain into improving your immune system by showing it certain stimuli?
A study conducted at the University of British Columbia found that after looking at photographs of sick people, people’s immune systems became stronger. In the study, the interleukin-6 levels (IL6) of participants were increased by 23% when they were shown pictures depicting disease, compared with an increase of 6% in people who looked at pictures of guns (which causes stress).
IL6 is a substance that our white blood cells produce in order to fight infections or burns. From an evolutionary stand point, if there’s a disease going around and affecting those around you, your brain will boost your immune system as a defense mechanism. By looking at pictures of sick people, you are tricking your brain into thinking that there is a disease going around. Whenever there really is a disease going around and you want to become more resistant to it, try looking at photographs depicting sickness.
Overall, there are hundreds of ways our senses can deceive us, and plenty of research has been done on optical illusions and eating habits. If you’re interested in these ideas, Cornell University has published a wide range of discoveries on food psychology, so I recommend checking them out.