Another example of intuition being wrong

One of the themes we've discussed in this blog is how our intuitions can be wrong and at times unhelpful in dealing with the world around us. At school I remember being taught that a feather and a stone fall at the same speed if there was no air to hold the feather back. I had it explained in varying levels of complexity why this was so and accepted it as a fact.

The thing is everything I see in the world around me tells me this isn't true, light things like bits of paper and feathers fall slower than pieces of toast and iPhones, unfortunately. So even though if asked I could give the right answer I continue to live my life thinking it isn't really true. 

On TV the other evening I was spellbound to watch Prof Brian Cox demonstrate an experiment of dropping a bowling ball and a feather in a massive room with the air pumped out (ie. in a vacuum). 

Programme website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0276q28 Brian Cox visits NASA's Space Power Facility in Ohio to see what happens when a bowling ball and a feather are dropped together under the conditions of outer space.

What's this got to do with mental health. I think it shows how hard it is to challenge what we build up as evidence from the world around us even when it is actually wrong. One of the things cognitive behavioral therapy looks to do is make us challenge assumptions we make such as 'I always fail, people always let me down etc.'. One of the ways this is done is by looking for counter examples. So don't accept what your brain serves up as the 'truth', actually check the facts and do an experiment or two. For one I can guarantee that any statement that says something 'always' happens is very unlikely to be true.