When Something’s Too Good to Be True
It usually is.
But how does your brain distinguish that something is too good to be true? What allows the brain to differentiate fantasy from reality?
The brain’s ability to decide between fantasy and reality is often based on previous experiences. Oftentimes, when something does not coincide with previous experiences, it is dismissed as fanatical or unreal. For example, the Abbe Faria in The Count of Monte Cristo is thought to be insane when he claims he knows of an enormous treasure in the island of Monte Cristo. It has been found that young children, maybe because of a lack of previous experiences, distinguish reality very differently. Oftentimes young children use emotions to determine whether or not something is real. For example, a protagonist in a story may seem real to them, while the antagonist of the same story is considered fanatical. As children develop, they begin to have more of an understanding of what is real and what is fanatical. Often times, schizophrenics are unable to dissociate between fantasy and reality.
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