Pavlov's Couch

A Psychology Student's Mental Experience

All I Know is That I Don’t Know Nothing

I’m a big fan of Stumble Upon. As well as being a great way to entertain yourself when times are quiet, it’s also a great way to discover new things. I made one such discovery today – the Mpemba Effect. While not related to psychology directly, this effect reminds me of how important it is not to make assumptions or believe that we know more than we really do.

Given two equal volumes of water, under equal cooling conditions, with one starting at 30°c and one at 70°c, which one freezes first? The one that starts at 30°c, right?
Not necessarily. The Mpemba Effect, is often summarised as ‘‘hot water can freeze faster than cold” (Vynnycky & Mitchell, 2010). Despite having been known and studied for a very very long time it is still not known exactly why this happens. Have a read of this excellent page for a more detailed explanation of the effect and the history of the Mpbemba Effect.

I take this as a reminder to always question my own knowledge. Even things that you “know” now, may be disproven later or replaced by new theories. Any person, particularly any therapist (which I would one day like to be) who feels secure in the knowledge that they know what’s best, is in grave danger of making some terrible mistakes.

Note: The title of this post is a reference to this song by Operation Ivy

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