If you want to change your experiences, change your expectations, studies tell us (again). What you think will happen may really affect you physically.Photo by Roland Tanglao
Psychology Today has posted four studies that support the concept of the Placebo Effect, the idea that what you expect to happen will happen (something we’ve seen before when investigating the science behind having a bad day).
In one study, golfers who were told they had a “lucky” ball made more putts than they did using the ordinary ball. In another, researchers were able to manipulate the flavours participants tasted by adding tasteless food colouring (you could market vanilla pudding as banana pudding by adding yellow food colouring).
A third study cited, done by Harvard Professor Ellen Langer (who wrote a great book on cognitive thinking, Mindfulness), suggests your expectations can also affect your health and fitness:
Dr. Langer told the workers at four of the hotels that their work provided good exercise and “met the guidelines for a healthy, active lifestyle.” To the housekeepers at the other three hotels, Langer said nothing.
Four weeks later, she compared the two groups.
The women who hadn’t heard about the health benefits of their work showed no change in weight, body fat, or blood pressure. The housekeepers who heard that their work was good exercise, by contrast, lost an average of two pounds and 0.5 percent of their body fat—and experienced a 10 percent drop in their systolic blood pressure.
Just as believing in free will gives you more power to take action, you may be able to change what you experience by changing your mind.
How to Use Your Head: Four Surprising Stories [Psychology Today]