Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Power of Perception

It's amazing the effect our perceptions can have on us.

Scientists have long known the placebo effect can be incredibly powerful: Fake pills can ease pain as much as real medication, and rubbing fake poison ivy on people can cause actual rashes. Check out this terrific story in the New York Times about the power of the placebo effect (thanks to for the link).

But now a new study poses an even crazier idea: That merely imagining that you got a workout can give you the same effects as a real-life one. Fascinating.

May Light increase!


Anonymous said...

You are very right. I remember Mom and Dad telling me a story once of how Grandma was told to drink some sort of juice (I think it was juice) to cure her asthma and for a while, it worked! She could bake loaves of bread without a mask! When you believe something will cure you, it will, but only for a time.


Mark said...

Michelle: Cool story! I remember at camp we had a nurse who would give the younger campers "homesick pills." These pills cured homesickness most of the time which was amazing since they were peppermints! Also growing up I heard many people who thought they were drinking alcohol or smoking drugs (but weren't) but ended up getting drunk or high (at least in their minds). I also heard a story about a medical procedure (can't remember the details) where they found that removing a certain muscle seemed to help people with a certain illness. Someone did an experiment where they did an incision but didn't take anything out. Amazingly, many of these people also recovered from the illness (much more then a control group) because they thought they were being cured. Interesting stuff.