Debunking 20 of the Most Common Misconceptions and Myths


Information travels faster than the speed of light, and misconceptions and myths find fertile ground to grow and spread, often becoming widely accepted truths. These misconceptions can range from harmless old wives’ tales to harmful stereotypes that perpetuate stigma and misunderstanding.

Let’s debunk 20 of the most common misconceptions woven into everyday knowledge, shedding light on the facts and encouraging a more informed and rational understanding of the world around us.

You Should Wait 24 Hours to Report Someone Missing

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Contrary to popular belief, waiting 24 hours to report a missing person can be detrimental and potentially hinder the investigation. Law enforcement agencies worldwide encourage reporting when you realize someone is missing, especially if the person is a child, elderly, or has special needs. Prompt action can be crucial in ensuring their safety and whereabouts.

Spend Two Months’ Salary on an Engagement Ring

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The notion that one should spend two months’ salary on an engagement ring is a successful marketing strategy popularized by diamond companies in the mid-20th century. In reality, the amount paid should depend on the couple’s financial situation and mutual preferences, not on an arbitrary rule set by an ad campaign.

Going Out With Wet Hair Causes a Cold

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Colds are caused by viruses, not by cold weather or wet hair. While being cold or wet might make you feel uncomfortable, it does not increase your susceptibility to catching a cold. This misconception persists because more people stay indoors and in close contact during colder weather, facilitating the spread of viruses.

That the Times We Live In Are Worse Than Ever

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This perspective often arises from media sensationalism and a natural tendency to romanticize the past. While there are undoubtedly serious challenges in the contemporary world, the historical context reveals that humanity has made significant progress in areas such as healthcare, civil rights, and technology, suggesting that life has improved in many ways over the centuries.

That People on the Autism Spectrum Are Emotionless

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Individuals on the autism spectrum may express or experience emotions differently, but this does not mean they are emotionless. Autism affects communication and social interaction, which can sometimes make it harder for others to read their emotional states.

However, this misconception undermines the depth of feelings and empathetic capacities many autistic individuals have.

Humans Only Use 10% Of Their Brain

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Neuroscience has debunked the myth that humans only use 10% of their brains. Brain imaging technologies show that even for simple tasks, multiple areas of the brain are active. While not all regions are engaged at once, nearly every part of the brain is utilized over a day.

The Average Human Accidentally Eats Eight Spiders a Year

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This urban legend has no scientific basis and is an excellent example of how easily misinformation can spread. Spiders generally avoid humans, and it’s highly unlikely that someone regularly swallows spiders in their sleep.

Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Day

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While breakfast can provide energy to start the day, its importance is highly individual. Research shows that skipping breakfast does not necessarily lead to weight gain or poorer performance, challenging the notion that it’s crucial for everyone.

Hard Work Is Always Rewarded

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Unfortunately, success is not solely determined by hard work. Factors like opportunity, social networks, and sheer luck also play significant roles. While hard work is undeniably important, it’s not a guarantee of success, highlighting the complexity of achievement.

Organic Is Always Better

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Organic farming has benefits, including reduced pesticide exposure and potentially better environmental practices. However, “organic” doesn’t always mean healthier or more nutritious. The distinction lies more in farming practices than in the inherent quality of the final product.

Kindness Means Weakness

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This misconception misunderstands the strength it takes to be kind in a world that often rewards competitiveness and harshness. Kindness is a sign of emotional intelligence and security in one’s values, and it can lead to more robust, more resilient relationships.

That the Poor Are Lazy

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Poverty is a complex issue influenced by many factors, including systemic inequalities, lack of access to education, and economic downturns. Laziness is a gross oversimplification that ignores the structural barriers to financial stability.

That Sugar Causes Kids to Misbehave

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The idea that sugar leads to hyperactivity in children is a widespread belief, yet studies have consistently shown no direct link between sugar intake and increased hyperactivity. Context and parental expectations may play a more significant role in perceived behavior changes.

Acne Is Caused by Dirt

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The myth that acne is caused by dirt stems from a misunderstanding of the skin’s physiology and the factors contributing to acne development. Acne occurs due to the overproduction of oil, clogging of pores, and bacterial growth, not directly from dirt. Factors like hormonal changes, diet, genetics, and stress have a more substantial impact on acne.

While poor hygiene can exacerbate skin problems by contributing to oil buildup and dead skin cells, dirty skin is not the root cause of acne.

Wait an Hour After Eating to Swim

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The advice to wait an hour after eating before swimming is based on the theory that digestion diverts blood from the muscles, potentially causing cramps and drowning. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this claim.

While it’s true that digestion requires blood flow to the stomach, the body is perfectly capable of managing blood distribution to support both activities. Monitoring individual comfort and energy levels is more important, as swimming with a full stomach might be uncomfortable but not necessarily dangerous.

The Homeless Like Their Situation

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The notion that homeless individuals prefer their situation overlooks the complex socio-economic and psychological factors that contribute to homelessness. Many people experiencing homelessness have faced significant hardships, such as job loss, mental health issues, substance abuse, or escaping domestic violence.

Systemic barriers to housing, healthcare, and social services often compound these circumstances. While a small number might express a preference for the autonomy of street life over inadequate shelter conditions, it’s misleading to generalize this as a contentment with homelessness.

Driving With the Dome Light on Is Illegal

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The belief that driving with the dome light on inside a vehicle is illegal is a common misconception. No specific laws make driving with the interior light a punishable offense. However, it may be discouraged because the light can distract the driver or diminish visibility at night.

Ultimately, while not expressly illegal, turning on the dome light while driving at night should be done with consideration for safety and visibility.

The Brain Isn’t Fully Developed Until 25

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Current research supports the view that the human brain continues to mature and develop well into a person’s mid-twenties, with some suggesting the age of 25 is a significant milestone.

This development is particularly noted in the prefrontal cortex, responsible for decision-making, impulse control, and emotional regulation. The ongoing maturation process explains why young adults often experience behavior, judgment, and risk assessment changes.

Cracking Your Knuckles Leads to Arthritis

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The association between knuckle cracking and arthritis is a myth not supported by scientific evidence. Cracking knuckles create a popping sound due to the release of gas bubbles in the synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints.

Studies have investigated the long-term effects of knuckle cracking and found no significant difference in the incidence of arthritis between individuals who crack their knuckles and those who do not.

Mental Illness Is a Relatively New Thing

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The perception that mental illness is a relatively new phenomenon is incorrect. Historical records and accounts show that mental health disorders have been recognized and documented for thousands of years, albeit under different names and through various cultural understandings.

Ancient civilizations, including the Greeks and Egyptians, described conditions resembling depression, anxiety, and psychosis. The difference in modern times lies in our understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of these conditions.

15 Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True

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With the amount of information and misinformation available, the line between fact and fiction often blurs, giving rise to conspiracy theories. While many such theories are quickly debunked, a select few have, shockingly, proven to be true.

Here, we share 15 instances where once-dismissed conspiracies were validated, uncovering unsettling truths that challenge our perception of history, governance, and societal institutions.

15 Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out To Be True

15 Things That Have Been Normalized That Shouldn’t Be Normal

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It’s pretty hard to define normal, but you know it when you see it. When something has been normalized, it isn’t shocking.

It’s something commonplace that we all get used to. However, maybe some of these things should never have become normal in the first place.

15 Things That Have Been Normalized That Shouldn’t Be Normal

The 5 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.

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We all want to be safe, and living in a city that is high with crime is not usually what people look for when they look for a place to live. Tracking crime statistics and safety is a complicated measure, but the FBI does its best to track different crime rates in most cities and states in the U.S.

You may be surprised to learn which cities made the list of the most dangerous cities. We often associate crime with large cities, such as New York, Chicago, and L.A., but those cities did not make it to the top five.

The 5 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.

12 Things That Were Socially Acceptable 25 Years Ago, but Are Frowned Upon Today

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Over the past 25 years, society has seen significant changes in what it considers acceptable behavior. What was once deemed perfectly fine in the past is now often met with disapproval. As cultural norms and values continue to evolve, it’s essential to reflect on these changes and how they shape our daily lives.

12 Things That Were Socially Acceptable 25 Years Ago, but Are Frowned Upon Today

15 Behaviors That Are a Dead Giveaways Someone Grew up Poor

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Many people who grew up poor don’t exactly want to display this information for the world to see. However, it can come out in a wide range of behaviors that make it obvious that the person grew up lower class or in poverty.

Many people have habits that they picked up during those years that they haven’t let go of yet.

15 Behaviors That Are a Dead Giveaways Someone Grew up Poor

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