Cognitive scientists at Yale University carried out a study examining our concept of what’s “normal.” In BrainCraft’s new video, host Vanessa Hill breaks down the differences between average and normal — as well as the study’s psychological findings.

“Our whole mental concept of normal is cognitively built by incorporating the hard data we have, with the ideals that we hold,” Hill explains.

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What’s normal can be typically understood using an Overton Window, which began as a political idea. The concept displays a theoretical range of possible positions on a subject, from extreme to socially acceptable to simply possible. The accepted “norm” can shift back and forth.

According to Hill, being aware of what you consider ideal and average can contribute to your ideals of normalcy. The Yale study reported that “people actively combine statistical and prescriptive information they have learned into an undifferentiated notion of what is normal.”

Want to know more about the cognitive workings behind our brain’s definition of typical and how the Overton Window works? Watch the video above.

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