STRANGEST Psychological Phenomena

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Our brain is capable of playing tricks on us. What is it called when you just can’t think of a word? Why do some people have a hard time recognizing faces? Learn all of this and more in today’s video: Strangest Psychological Phenomena.

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5. Cotard Syndrome
This is otherwise referred to as “living dead” syndrome. Patients exhibiting Cotard Syndrome are under the delusion that they have already passed away. Other symptoms may be the belief that they have no internal organs, no blood, or no sense of thirst and hunger.

This syndrome is also very dangerous, because some patients never recover from these beliefs and one famous case, Mademoiselle X, actually starved herself to death. It’s often associated with brain injury or severe depression. Patients have reported that they do not sleep, use the bathroom, eat or drink because they are not alive. Some have even requested to be buried or set in a morgue.

Paradoxically, most patients exhibit a belief that they are immortal. Basically, they are dead, conscious, and therefore indestructible. It’s thought that this disorder is related to “facial blindness” in that the person suffering from Cotard Syndrome loses their ability to recognize themselves and loses a sense of oneness with their body and reality.

4. Pareidolia
Ever taken a Rorschach test? Ever seen Jesus on a piece of toast? Or the faces on the moon? Those are all examples of pareidolia. It’s the mental phenomenon of creating patterns where patterns don’t exist. Most common is finding faces where faces don’t exist, like in this picture of a car seat. It looks like a smiling face, doesn’t it? In reality, of course, it’s just a car seat. Some people claim that the patterns a person sees can lend insight to their emotional state. This is why Rorschach tests are so popular.

Other forms of pareidolia are hearing sound patterns in meaningless noise. For example, playing white noise, you might convince yourself you hear voices. Or, when a sound bite is played backward, you might hear a hidden message. Of course, in reality, no such voices or hidden messages exist.

In evolutionary theory, this is a trait that humans have acquired for their safety. Our ability to quickly pick out faces allows us to find threats or identify a threatening person if we can guess their emotional state.

3. Erotomania
In this disorder, people falsely believe another person is in love with them. Interestingly, most people suffering from erotomania tend to fixate on people of higher social standing, such as celebrities and millionaires.

Patients will often believe that their admirer is communicating via messages that only the patient can understand. This can sometimes be perceived subliminal messages in media or even telepathy.

The most famous case is that of John Hinckley Junior, who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in an desperate attempt to impress actress Jodie Foster after seeing her in the film Taxi Driver. There are a lot of ways to a girl’s heart and that isn’t one of them.

2. Stendhal Syndrome
And all of its many forms. This strange disorder is a psychosomatic, severe anxiety disorder. It’s characterized by a racing pulse, labored breathing, fainting, and even hallucinations. What brings it on? Generally speaking: art.

That’s right. Some people, in the presence of too much art start hyperventilating and fainting because their minds cannot handle all of the stimuli at once. Because it tends to happen around different forms of art, it’s also been called Florence Syndrome, after the city in Italy renowned for its beauty.

1. Paris and Jerusalem Syndrome
There are two other syndromes closely related to Stendhal Syndrome. They are Paris and Jerusalem Syndrome.

Jerusalem is a holy city and visitors are sometimes struck by a sort of psychosis when they make a pilgrimage there. They tend to become intensely religious, have delusions of grandeur, and obsess over religious ideals. When pilgrims return home, they no longer exhibit these symptoms. It is not unique to any one religion and anyone, from any denomination can experience it.

Paris syndrome, on the other hand, is nearly unique to Japanese tourists who visit Paris. Talk about bizarre. Upon arriving in the City of Lights, some travellers are struck with hallucinations, anxiety attacks, feelings of persecution, dizziness, and the list goes on. Some researchers believe this is a form of extreme culture shock. Others say that the real Paris does not match up with the idealized version in the minds of some Japanese tourists, so they experience a severe detachment to reality.