MIND OVER MIND
The Surprising Power of Placebos, Expectations, and Assumptions
We all know expectations matter – in school, in sports, in the stock market. Hints of their influences have been labeled and debated for decades, including the placebo effect in medicine, the Pygmalion effect in education, and the Hawthorne effect in the classroom and the professional world. But now researchers in fields ranging from medicine to education to criminal justice are moving beyond observation to investigate how expectations work inside our brains, and when they don’t.
Mind Over Mind investigates the frontiers of expectations research. Berdik introduces readers to doctors who advocate “sham surgery,” leads readers into the brains of gambling addicts, joins the raging debate over praising your kids and the impact of subconscious racism, and shows us the ways athletes are trying to think their way to faster, higher, stronger. The author uncovers some fascinating phenomena, including: - A man whose cancer waxed and waned based on news reports about the efficacy of an experimental drug - A group of elementary school students who excelled after their teacher was told they were all gifted - Athletes who benefited from phantom doping, improving their performance after being injected with a placebo painkiller Expectations can heal our bodies and make us stronger, smarter, and more successful in many ways, or they can leave us in agony, crush our spirits, and undermine our free will. If we can unlock their secrets, then we might harness their power and sidestep their pitfalls. Chris Berdik is a science journalist who has written for numerous publications, including The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, Mother Jones, Washington Post, and New Scientist.
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