If you were walking along the street and found a bird lying on the ground, how would you react? You would probably poke the bird to see if it is alive. We have a peculiar habit since we are children of poking living things that we see for the first time. Through poking, we discover whether it is alive or dead, soft or hard, slimy or furry, docile or aggressive.
Prompting a reaction and observing the reaction is a surprisingly useful way of learning. In chemistry, we react an unknown substance with other chemicals to discover its identity. In medicine, we stimulate parts of the brain with electricity to discover what each part does. In physics, we build giant accelerator to crash particles together to find out their constituents and properties. If you fell into a cave so dark you cannot see even one foot ahead of you, the best way to find out if there is a wall or a hole or water ahead of you is throwing a rock in that direction.
This principle can be applied to psychology. To learn how people around you behave, provoke them. Human beings are extremely sensitive to stimuli and even when they consciously try to hide it, they will subconsciously react. If you keep (subtly) poking the person, you will soon be able to predict how they will react to something, what actions they will take, and you may even discover what is on their mind.
We cannot see the wind, but we can infer that it exists because the leaves blow. The best way to prove something that you cannot see inducing and looking for reactions.
When you are faced with a difficult decision involving two choices, flip a coin.
The point is not to leave the decision to fate and chance, but to see what side your subconscious hopes the coin will land on.
(Image source: http://yannik.deviantart.com/art/Chance-113859407)
There are many interesting medical facts regarding sleep, but there are strange pathologies that stand out even more from them.
Sometimes, cases resembling sleepwalking are reported, where the patient unconsciously has sexual intercourse with someone else. After waking up, the patient has no recollection of the event, and thus may face a very awkward situation the following morning.
Sexsomnia, or sleep sex, is a rare sleep disorder; to be more specific, it is a type of NREM parasomnia (performing complex actions while asleep). This disorder is quite different from REM sleep disorder, as no dreaming occurs during NREM sleep. Therefore, the sexual behaviour is not due to the influence of an erotic dream, but rather the primitive brain functions acting on basic instincts, as higher brain functions are shut down during NREM sleep. According to reports, sexsomniacs act almost lucidly during episodes.
As it was discovered quite recently, less than 15 years ago, it is under heavy research. However, due to patients feeling too ashamed of the disease or not remembering the events, the number of reported cases is low.
This disease is not directly harmful to the patient, but it can be very problematic socially. It ruins relationships and may even lead to rape. But as the law defines rape as “a conscious act”, sexsomnia is often used as a defence in trials. It is important to note that it occurs in both men and women. Within relationships, the general complaint is not that of rape, but rather exhaustion.
Interestingly, as the primitive brain is not being controlled during the episodes, sleep sex is known to be more vigorous than normal sex. Due to this, patients and their partners often exhibit carpet burns.