Myths most people still believe! This of common misconceptions that have been proven false is still believed by many around the world! Which ones did you believe to be true?
Gum takes seven years to digest
This is one of those myths that seemingly came from nowhere. And it’s really specific, too. Seven years to digest gum? One theory is that parents used the myth to keep their children from swallowing non-food items.
Pediatric gastroenterologist David Milov of the Nemours Children’s Clinic explains that if it were true, then evidence of that would turn up during routine colonoscopies and capsule endoscopy procedures. In fact, there’s never been a piece of gum found that wasn’t more than a week old.
What does happen, though, to that pink wad you swallowed by accident? Some of the components, such as sweeteners, are broken down, but the gum’s base is largely indigestible. As long as the piece you swallowed wasn’t larger than a quarter, it should pass naturally.
Playing dead will save you during bear attack
This factoid is partially a myth. Or, it’s taken on mythic proportions, which isn’t surprising since it’s an old idea.
In 1806, an explorer wrote of a Native American woman who, when attacked by a bear, dropped to the ground
and played dead. The bear ran off to attack her husband. Another California pioneer wrote that if a
person plays dead with their face down, the bear will only bite a few times before wandering away. While
this could keep you safe from a mother bear defending her cubs, it won’t keep you safe from a hungry
The proper response to a bear attack depends on who you ask. Some experts say it depends on the species.
For example, black bears are shy and timid but if they attack a person, it’s to eat that person. The best
course of action is to fight back with pepper spray or just run away. There’s no scientific evidence to suggest the black bear will chase you.
Other experts say that running could only lead to injury, so don’t do that, but everyone agrees climbing a tree won’t help since most bears can climb pretty well. The overall advice seems to suggest fighting back or using a camera flash as a distraction. Or, you could just admire the bears from faraway and let them do their bear thing.
We only use 10% of our brains.
Though an interesting idea, the “10 percent myth” is so wrong it is almost laughable, says neurologist
Barry Gordon at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.
No one knows for sure who started this myth but it has been linked to the American psychologist and
author William James. He argued in his book The Energies of Men that “We are making use of only a small
part of our possible mental and physical resources.” The myth has also been associated with Albert
Einstein, who supposedly used it to explain his cosmic towering intellect.
Doctor Gordon says the myth’s durability comes from people’s conceptions about their own brains: they see
their own shortcomings as evidence of untapped gray matter. What is accurate, however, is that at certain
moments in anyone’s life, like when we rest and think, we may be using only 10 percent of our brains.
Over the course of the day, the entire brain is at work keeping us breathing, moving, and assimilating
information. Recent research suggests that not only are the different parts of our brain working at the
same time but also that they never stop. And the brain sucks up an enormous amount of resources to
continue functioning. In fact, twenty percent of the oxygen we receive goes to our brain.
So, something that important is definitely using more than 10% of its capacity.
Thanks to Jaws, most people think of sharks, especially Great Whites, as indiscriminate machines. Despite
changing perspectives, this stereotype still jumps to mind whenever a shark attack occurs.
In reality, only six people a year die from shark attacks. To put that in perspective: more people die
from elephant attacks annually than they do from sharks. Attacks by Great Whites are the most documented
of shark attacks but that does not make them the most common. This is because Great Whites are easily
identifiable and any attack by one will surely be documented.
Also, sharks as a whole do not eat people. Shark attacks often occur because the predator mistook a
swimmer as an injured fish or a surfer as a seal. The shark will take an exploratory bite, realize they
have the wrong creature, and move on. Very rarely will a shark consume a person.