When it comes to trivia, you most likely won’t benefit from knowing why James Michael Tyler got to play Gunther the barista in Friends or why a super-rich Swedish man bought a chunk of the Amazon rainforest. But on the off-chance that your local pub quiz master decides to ask about these things, better come prepared!

And an excellent place to do so is at “Mind Blowing Facts.” This internet project shares tidbits of information about the world we live in and also includes complimentary photos to help these tiny lessons stick in our memory for a little longer. Continue scrolling and check out some of its most popular posts!

More info: mind-blowingfacts.com | Facebook | Instagram

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Surprisingly, going through (and applying) random facts can also be good for your mental health. Experts say that playing trivia games can provide a dopamine rush much like gambling, but without the negative effects. 

Even if the actual games differ, the benefits are there nonetheless. Whether we’re playing Trivial Pursuit at home or attending a pub trivia night, the basic premise remains the same: we experience the thrill of providing correct answers to questions about lesser-known facts.

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“You get a rush or a neuroreward signal or a dopamine burst from winning,” John Kounios, Ph.D., professor of psychology and director of the doctoral program in applied cognitive and brain sciences at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, told Healthline. “I think whenever you’re challenged with a trivia question and you happen to know it, you get a rush. It’s sort of like gambling.”

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Kounios said the benefits can also be similar to those of playing a video game.

However, unlike gambling and even video games, Kounios said trivia is generally not a problematic habit.

“I don’t think there are any pitfalls,” he said. “Like anything else that’s fun, it takes up time.”

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Sometimes we think of the brain as an endless library, whose shelves house our most precious memories as well as our lifetime’s knowledge. But is there a point where it reaches maximum capacity? In other words, can the brain get full?

The short answer is no. Brains are more sophisticated than that: a study published in Nature Neuroscience revealed that instead of just crowding in, old information is sometimes pushed out of the brain for new memories to form.

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Scientists wanted to investigate what happens in the brain when we try to remember information that’s very similar to what we already know. (This is important because similar information is more likely to interfere with existing knowledge, and it’s the stuff that crowds without being useful.)

So they examined how brain activity changes when we try to remember a target memory, that is, when we try to recall something very specific, at the same time as trying to remember something similar (a competing memory).

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Researchers taught participants to associate a single word (for example, the word sand) with two different images – such as one of Marilyn Monroe and the other of a hat.

They discovered that as the target memory was recalled more often, brain activity for it increased. At the same time, brain activity for the competing memory simultaneously weakened. This change was most prominent in regions near the front of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex, rather than key memory structures in the middle of the brain, such as the hippocampus, which is traditionally associated with memory loss.

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The prefrontal cortex is involved in a range of complex cognitive processes, such as planning, decision making, and selective retrieval of memory. Existing research shows this part of the brain works in combination with the hippocampus to retrieve specific memories.

If the hippocampus is the search engine, the prefrontal cortex is the filter that determines which memory is the most relevant — this suggests that storing information alone is not enough for a good memory. The brain also has to be able to access the relevant information without being distracted by competing pieces of data.

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However, don’t be scared. In daily life, forgetting actually is actually beneficial.

Imagine that you lost your bank card. The new card you receive will come with a new PIN. Research in this field suggests that each time you remember the new code, you gradually forget the old one. This process improves access to relevant information, without old memories interfering.

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