5 Ways to Deceive Your Brain Into Living a Better Lifestyle

5 Ways to Deceive Your Brain Into Living a Better Lifestyle

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.

swimming shut

    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.

      More by this author

      Tanvir Zafar

      The founder of ISU Technologies, passionate in writing about productivity, creativity, entrepreneurship, work and technology.

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      Last Updated on June 6, 2019

      Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

      Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

      In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

      Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

      Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

      Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.


         A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.


        The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

        “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

        In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

        The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence


          A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.


          Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

          “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

          When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

          The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

          As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]


          “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

          Silence relieves stress and tension.


            It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

            A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

            “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

            Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

            Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.


              The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

              Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

              But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]



              Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

              Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via


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