• Weird History

Facts That Set The Record Straight On The Myths We Grew Up With

List RulesVote up all the facts that disprove old myths you used to believe.

Believing myths about how the world works is part of being a kid. Everyone understands that swimmers shouldn't jump back into the water after eating a poolside snack, for example, because their parents told them so. And everyone knows that mice go wild for cheese, right? Wrong. These and other oft-repeated misconceptions are treated as facts when, in reality, there is little truth to them.

Like unfounded fears over MSG or coffee, these tales have shaped people's beliefs, tastes, and behaviors for a generation. Some have been peddled by pop culture; others - like historical myths that people wrongly believe - have been fueled by assumptions and lack of knowledge. 

These facts set the record straight and demythologize childhood misinformation.

  • 1
    592 VOTES

    Don't 'Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture'

    Everyone knows the drill: When a Polaroid camera spits out an instant photo, you should shake it to dry it off. It's such a common sight that everyone knew exactly what Outkast meant when they told people to "shake it like a Polaroid picture" in their hit song "Hey Ya!" 

    Scientifically speaking, shaking a Polaroid is actually the opposite of what you should do. After Outkast's song was released in 2003, Polaroid urged customers not to "shake it." As CNN reported, a spokesperson for Polaroid acknowledged:

    Almost everybody does it, thinking that shaking accelerates the development process, but if you shake it too vigorously you could distort the image.

    Myth busted?
  • Photo: M. Thiebaut de Schotten F. Dell'Acqua P. Ratiu A. Leslie H. Howells E. Cabanis M. T. Iba-Zizen O. Plaisant A. Simmons N. F. Dronkers S. Corkin M. Catani / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY 4.0
    539 VOTES

    We Use All Of Our Brains - Not Just 10%

    One of the most repeated - and incorrect - myths is that humans only use about 10% of their brains. The idea that humans could unlock more brain power has led to countless pop cultural musings on the subject, such as the 2014 film Lucy.

    But humans don't just use 10% of our brains; we use it all. Research backs this up. Scientists have mapped the human brain and measured its activity, and "have yet to find an area of the brain that doesn't do anything," according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

    Myth busted?
  • 3
    373 VOTES

    Goldfish Don't Have Ridiculously Bad Memories

    According to pop culture, goldish are definitely not elephants - and not only because of their small size. Unlike elephants - which supposedly never forget anything - goldfish are reputed to have terrible memories and quickly forget simple things.

    Take the TV show Ted Lasso, for instance. The titular Premier League coach advises a player on his team to shake off a costly mistake and not let it haunt him. "Be a goldfish," Lasso says. 

    Although that advice resonated with fans of the show, it's based on a faulty premise. Goldfish actually don't have bad memories at all. Research has demonstrated that goldfish can remember things months after they happen. 

    Myth busted?
  • Photo: Udo J. Keppler / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
    506 VOTES

    Mice Don't Have A Special Taste For Cheese

    Pop culture tells us that mice are the original cheeseheads. Leave out a crumb of cheese, and they just can't help themselves - they'll gobble it up or carry it back to their mouse-hole to share with friends.

    It's a charming myth, but it's still just a myth. Mice are not uniquely obsessed with cheese. In fact, according to rodent expert Robert Corrigan, cheese likely doesn't rank among mice's favorite snacks. Although they are unfussy eaters, mice would probably choose fruits or nuts over cheese, if given the choice.

    Myth busted?