Common, Yet Strange Human Behaviors Explained

Have you ever accidentally walked into a room, only to discover someone sitting alone talking to himself? Of course, you see each other and he tries to act normal immediately. Then there’s that awkward tension not only from his side for having being caught but also from yours because you don’t quite know how to react. But you don’t confront him – instead, you engage in some nervous small talk to try and mask the awkwardness and then hurry out of the room.

If you really think about it, pretending to not notice something and acting like everything’s normal is just as weird as catching someone engaging in a conversation with himself.

Similarly, there are many other strange things we humans do almost on a daily basis without even knowing why. Luckily, science has attempted to decode these behaviors so we can understand ourselves better.

6 Common, Yet Strange Human Behaviors Explained

1. Lying

Humans lie to make themselves look good to themselves and the people around them, and to avoid hurting feelings.

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This makes it to the top of our list because everyone has told at least one lie at some point or the other in their lives. We know nothing good ever comes out of it. Those of us who have lied often enough can even predict the ugly consequences, but we continue lying anyway. In fact, most of the times, there was probably even no need to lie in the first place. So why do we do it?

According to researchers, human beings have an inherent instinct of wanting to appear good to themselves and to the people around them. Therefore, when we get confronted for doing something we are not proud of, our first instinct is to cover up our tracks and defend ourselves. This is why even when we know we’re going to get caught sooner or later, we still continue piling on lie after lie until our brain tells us there’s no other way out than to confess.

Humans also have brains that are wired to focus more on short-term goals than on

long-term ones. When they decide to lie to someone it’s because their first thought is always “let me save my self-image and self-worth for now” rather than “if he finds out later, he’ll be hurt and will probably never trust me again”.

We don’t always lie to hide bad behavior, though. Sometimes, we find ourselves lying in social settings simply because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. This is why you tell your friend she’s looking lovely in her dress, even though in your head, you’re probably thinking how fat while makes her look.

2. Biting Cute Things

Humans link finding something cute to eating and hence feel the urge to bite adorable things.

Yes, it’s a little morbid, but we humans do like to bite cute things like babies.

This is because every time we see something that we find cute, our brain signals the release of dopamine – a hormone known for making us feel happy and warm on the inside. This is

the same hormone that is released when we eat “comfort food”. As a result, we link finding something cute to eating and we end up biting a baby’s cheeks or a puppy’s furry round butt. This explains why we can’t help squealing “It’s so cute, I want to bite it!”.

It also stems from our animal senses to want to nip at something as a playful means to show affection. So many mammals do this to build a relationship of trust and bonding. For instance, puppies nibble, bite and lick each other in the middle of play because that’s the only way they know to display feelings of affection for their siblings. It is, therefore, only natural that we humans would share the same instinct.

3. Arguing With Ourselves

Humans often simply decision-making by talking to themselves

Humans find it difficult to make decisions quickly, and therefore, we often seek a second opinion, even when we know what the right thing to do is.

Sometimes, we

may not be comfortable sharing certain thoughts with another person. So what do we do instead? We fill in that gap of a second opinion by talking to ourselves, almost as if we were another person to simplify the whole decision-making process.

4. Sticking Our Tongue Out When Concentrating

Humans sticking their tongues out while concentrating is a sign of reverting to the same gestural language of our ancestors.

If you thought it’s just toddlers who stick out their tongues while coloring their drawings, think again. You probably do the same thing while cutting out a shape carefully with a pair of scissors or while writing a postcard.

We humans started off with little grunts and gestures to communicate our thoughts and feelings with each other. This is how language slowly developed over time. Scientists suggest that we stick our tongues out while concentrating because challenging tasks set off a loop in our brains that leads us to revert to the same language of gestures

of our ancestors. This may also explain why we often use our hands to explain something, to add further emphasis on our words.

5. Zoning Out

Humans zone out when they feel a slight, temporary disconnection from the task they actually set off to do.

It happens to the best of us. You’re in the middle of a meeting and listening to talks about upcoming projects, and then all of a sudden you find yourself thinking about what to do over the weekend. In fact, this can happen multiple times through the day.

Scientists point out that zoning out is more likely to happen when we feel a slight, temporary disconnection from the task we actually set off to do. We let our thoughts roam wild within the infinite realms of our consciousness, allowing ourselves to be led by whatever seems interesting to our minds in that moment.

There are times this behavior can put you in an uncomfortable spot where you find yourself fumbling to

remember a person’s name. It can even be dangerous to let your mind wander while doing certain tasks such as driving or crossing the road. On the other hand, zoning out in the middle of leisurely situations like showering, or being stuck in a traffic jam is actually a good thing and can spark creativity. Scientists say that the ability to disconnect from what’s happening in the moment around you and think so deeply about something that’s not is actually a “cognitive achievement”!

6. Kissing

Scientists think kissing was designed to transmit biological information in the form of pheromones

If you actually think about it, kissing is quite gross. It’s almost like exchanging spoonfuls of your own saliva with your partner. Why then, are we programmed to do it repeatedly to show our affection and why do we not know of any other way?

Science still hasn’t been able to figure out how the concept of kissing started in the first place. However, scientists believe

that Nature designed kissing as a behavior that helps to send and receive biological information in the form of pheromones. This information helps the brain identify if a potential mate bears the promise for the long haul. Another major factor that is being considered as we kiss is whether our partner’s immune system differs from ours. This diversity is important as it will help our offspring be stronger.