Published by
Current (October 2012)
Current material
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The Surprising Power of Placebos, Expectations, and Assumptions

by Berdik, Chris

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.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk



In Mind Over Mind, Chris Berdik makes a compelling case that what we assume or expect from the world changes how we experience it. Mind Over Mind is a fascinating account of the power of conscious and unconscious expectations to alter our experience and our behaviour. If you think you might enjoy it, your expectations won't be shattered.

Review: New Scientist (Irving Kirsch)

It’s long been known that placebos and expectations can actually alleviate pain, speed healing, influence our behavior, and even predict future success or failure. In Mind Over Mind, Chris Berdik explains why. A captivating look at the frontiers of expectations research, he reveals how the assumptions our minds make can actually create self-fulfilling prophecies. The true power of this placebo effect is startling.

Review: Scientific American

Our senses, and the brain centers that control pleasure, are easily fooled by expectations -- and price...

Review: Salon

From the French court of King Louis XVI to today's neuroscience labs, Mind Over Mind surveys the too often neglected and misunderstood power of our expectations - over our health, performance, and preferences..... Chris Berdik has whipped up an engaging soufflé of a book brimming with quirky and surprising detail.

Quote: Seth Shulman

A new book exptores the far- reaching inftuence of expectations-and reveals how you can use them to your advantage.

Review: O Magazine

Korean: Korea Economic Daily & Business Publications

Quote: Client

Chris Berdik's vivid portrait of the placebo effect and related phenomena revealsthat our brains are the clumsiest of time travelers, altering life in the present by anticipating outcomes in the future. So many books about the brain focus on what's going on in other people's heads. Mind Over Mind helps you see what's going on in yours.

Quote: Michael Erard

Mind Over Mind takes us deep into the human psychology of expectation through the worlds of wine tasting, penaltykicks, compulsive gambling, and police lineups. Berdik delivers an optimistic message with a convincing punch...

Quote: Colin Ellard

Mind Over Mind is a captivating read, a mix of great stories and compelling science that shows us how expectations can influence our success - for better and worse. Berdik gives us the tools to change our own behavior and influence others.

Quote: Sian Bellock

Interview with Cris Berdik about MIND OVER MIND

Quote: CBS News

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