We are often led to believe things that aren't true, and in an age where Facebook gets accused of influencing an election due to their inability to filter out fake news reports, never has this been more apparent.
However, while false stories from unreputable organizations are commonplace, there are many assumptions people have always had that aren't true. Worst of all, most of them are believable and are passed down from generation-to-generation, with each as oblivious to their inauthenticity as the other. Here are 15 examples.
1. Alcohol Warms You Up
You've probably been told countless times when sitting in a snowy field that an 'alcohol blanket' will make you forget the cold, but that isn't the case. Instead, alcohol lowers your body temperature.
It may make your skin feel warm, but this apparent 'blanket' is merely the result of your blood vessels dilating, which temporarily moves warm blood closer to the surface of your skin.
2. People Are Either Right Or Left Brained
It seems odd that most of us believe we are somehow stronger on one side of the brain than we are on the other. But there's a reason it sounds odd: It isn't true.
Yes, this myth, which states that creativity and logical intelligence are formed on two separate sides of the brain is complete nonsense, with both sides working just as hard as the other.
3. Alcohol Kills Brain Cells
Granted, you might question the intellect of your booze-loving friend when they repeatedly tell you that penguins can fly, but while penguins are in no way capable of flying, your friend's ill-informed opinion isn't likely to be as a result of heavy drinking.
Indeed, even if you're an alcoholic, the damage to the brain will not be a result of cell loss, nor will you lose any on a drunken night out.
4. George Washington Was A Stoner
This is a funny one, but one that, as much as we'd like to believe is true, simply isn't. It is true that America's first president grew hemp due to its excellent array of fibers, but there's no way of knowing if he smoked it.
Being an astute and forward-thinking politician, Washington was more interested in its commercial value, which, according to written documents, suggested that he saw the crop as a more valuable cash crop than tobacco before concluding that wheat was.
5. Twinkies Don't Expire
As much as we'd love Twinkies to last forever, this sadly isn't true, despite many saying otherwise
Admittedly, the pastry has a longer shelf life than most, and the consensus among experts is that a packet can last for 25 days, which compared with major coffee chains who throw away their pastries after only one day, is still highly impressive.
6. It's Dangerous Waking A Sleepwalker
The last thing you'll probably want to do when seeing someone sleepwalking is to wake them up due to a common-held belief that doing so is dangerous. But that's far from the case.
You may startle them, and they may feel confused and even panicked when woken, but it won't be anything more than that.
7. Vitamin C Helps Deal With Colds
No matter how much freshly-squeezed orange juice you have, it's unlikely, contrary to popular belief, that your cold will get any better.
However, those who regularly consume Vitamin C may find their symptoms don't last as long as those who have a lack of Vitamin C in their diet.
8. Christopher Columbus Discovered The Earth Was Round
The famed Italian explorer found many empty lands and has assured his place in the history books for doing so, but he certainly wasn't the first to believe that the Earth was round, with many of his peers already assuming it was round.
Instead, that accolade, while almost impossible to prove, could arguably be attributed to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who, in 384-322 BC, wrote in his celebrated writings that the Earth was spherical, because of the circular shadow it cast on the Moon.
9. Different Parts Of Your Tounge Detect Different Flavours
While it may appear like our tongues have many different receptors, they all serve the same purpose.
This commonly held theory, which has often been taught in schools, is a myth with several thousand sensors on our tongue being able to recognize any of the tastes.
10. We Only Have 5 Senses
It's surprising to think that many people believe this when you consider how varied and multifaceted the human body is but if you did a bit of research, you'll soon discover that human nervous systems have multiple senses.
After all, while sight (ophthalmoception), hearing (audioception), taste (gustaoception), smell (olfacoception or olfacception), and touch (tactioception) are the most recognised senses, there are much more.
11. Shaving Regularly Thickens Your Hair
People who regularly shave are more likely to have their stubble grow back faster and more quickly according to many, but it doesn't change anything. Not the thickness. And especially not the rate of growth.
Many people think this because of the hair's blunt tip, which may appear bristly and darker in the following days of the shave when in reality it's not.
12. You Can See The Great Wall Of China From Space
Again, this is nothing more than a myth- a myth the Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield put to bed in 2013.
Following a return to Earth after working as a Commander of Expedition 35, Hadfield tweeted, 'The Great Wall of China is not visible from orbit with the naked eye. It's too narrow, + follows the natural contours & colours.'
13. Thomas Crapper, A British Plumber And Pioneer Of The Modern Toilet Is Where The Word 'Crap' Originates From
We really wish this one was true because it would be a fitting tribute to a man responsible for modern-day hygiene but it sadly isn't.
While Mr. Crapper (*snigger*) was the proud owner of the world's first bath, sink and toilet, the first documented record of the word dates back to a poem in 1801 by a soldier called J. Churchill, who eloquently described the plight of his bathroom woes when serving on the front line. Thomas Crapper, on the other hand, is thought to have only spread the word due to his surname resembling the curse word.
14. A Goldfish's Memory Lasts For Only 3 Seconds
Goldfish have never been favored by humans, and as well as being given to their children as a compromise by parents unwilling to invest in a cat or dog, they've also been ridiculed for their short-attention spans.
But they shouldn't! At least, not by humans. After all, a recent study found that humans, due to their shortened attention spans following years of technological distractions, now have an 8-second attention span- one second less than a goldfish's.
15. A Coca-Cola Advertisement Spawned The Modern-Day Santa Claus
There is some truth in the long-held belief that the fictional Christmas character of Santa Claus was spawned from an advertising campaign run by Coca-Cola, yet their depiction of a bearded white man spreading joy was modeled on someone real.
While he may not be called Santa or have flying reindeer at his beckon call, Coca-Cola's famous campaign is believed to have been inspired by the 4th Century Bishop Saint Nicholas, who, as well as donning red and white robes, was famous for giving to the poor and being kind to children.