COOL science: How to bring out extraordinary abilities hidden in your brain

The human brain is hiding superpowers within its left anterior temporal lobe. Near-perfect memory, echolocation, “sight” beyond sight, and something that might have inspired the idea of telekinesis can be accessed through easy means. An article in Psychology Today covered how you can tap these dormant mental powers.

Swift and accurate memorization

The first ability involves memory. Most people will memorize a set of words by repeating them multiple times.

This rote method takes a lot of time to pull off. Furthermore, recency and primacy effects on verbal memory will often make it difficult to remember information in the middle of a series.

The alternate means to remember those words require using our visual memory. The visual portions of the brain can store far more information at a faster rate.

Think of how you can remember a lot of details regarding your room. You can leverage that mental memory by thinking of strong images representing the words you need to remember.

For example, when you see the word “ladybug,” think of the most vivid memory you have of the insect. When you are asked to remember this later on, it will be much easier. (Related: The brain-boosting benefits of high-quality olive oil.)

Tiny, precise muscle movements

The next ability is quite possibly the inspiration for telekinesis. Your unconscious thoughts can cause very slight contractions in your muscles. These fine movements can move objects that are in contact with your muscles, such as a coffee cup dangling from your hand.

The reason for this unconscious movement is implicit memory. Human brains automatically store information such as the muscle groups responsible for certain kinds of movement.

So even though you have no idea what particular muscles need to move for that dangling coffee cup to start swaying, your body knows. It will activate the right muscles for the job.


Third on the list of superpowers is echolocation. This is the ability of certain animals to find their way through the darkness by sending out sounds and interpreting the returning signals to judge the size and distance of objects around them.

Humans have better echolocation than expected. Even people with normal eyesight will know when they are close to a wall while their eyes are closed or if they are not looking.

Much like how the brain unconsciously remembers which muscle groups perform specific actions, it also recalls the myriad sounds you make. It is also able to tell the difference between sounds that originate very close to you from those that are found much further away.

Detecting noiseless approach

The fourth entry is related to the third. Sound shadowing is like echolocation. Whereas the latter lets you detect something based on the echo it produces, the former clues you into the presence of something that is blocking background sound.

These sound shadows are cast by people sneaking up behind you to surprise you. Your brain notices that the sounds are getting softer and the echoes are fading away as a person comes up on you. It probably gave rise to the line “He had a feeling he was being watched” in all those mystery and thriller novels.

Spotting sneaky snakes

The last ability is only limited to fertile women who are in the stage between ovulation and period. A 2012 study by Japanese researchers showed that ovulating women are better at spotting snakes in photographs compared to non-ovulating ones. They theorized that this ability helped pregnant females spot and evade dangers in ancient times.

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