Perception: a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.
“There is neither good, nor bad, but thinking makes it so” -William Shakespeare
How much truth is there in Shakespeare’s quote? Here are a few experimental examples that seem to defy what might be expected.
Hotel Housekeeping Experiment
Women working in hotel housekeeping were under the impression they got little to no exercise in their daily routine. Researchers gave a 15-minute presentation on exercise. They explained the women’s work met the Surgeon General’s daily requirement of 30 minutes of moderate exercise and they should expect to receive those benefits. After four weeks, the women lost weight, their blood pressure declined, and they were more satisfied with their occupation. They had no change in their daily routine. They just expected to receive the benefits of their physical activity.
Participants were offered $75.00 to try two different milkshakes. The participants were also required to give blood as the experimenters wanted to measure a hormone called Ghrelin. Ghrelin is produced when people are hungry. More Ghrelin, more hunger.
The first milkshake was described as healthy having only 140 calories. Ghrelin levels decreased slightly in relation to consuming 140 calories. On a scale of 1 to 10, we might say ghrelin dropped to about 8. A week later, the second milkshake was described as having 620 calories. Using the 1 to 10 scale, ghrelin levels dropped to 3.
In reality, the exact same milkshake was consumed both times. And, that milkshake contained 380 calories. On a 1 to 10 scale, Ghrelin should have dropped to about a 5 each time. In the first experiment, the actual 380 calories should have reduced more Ghrelin than the actual amount reduced. In the second experiment the 380 calories should have reduced less Ghrelin than the actual amount reduced. Ghrelin levels were reduced on the perceived calorie consumption not actual calorie consumption.
Can perceptions, and beliefs, lead to better outcomes simply by expecting better outcomes? Could ordinary activities become extraordinary by changing the mindset related to an activity? The above seems to raise questions regarding beliefs and outcomes.
The above is from a YouTube video by Alia Crum. Ms. Crum is a well known researcher in the field of psychology and studying the “Placebo Effect.” There are additional studies in Ms. Crum’s YouTube on Mindset.
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Disclaimer: The “Just Suppose Blog” shares ideas in exploring personal progress as derived from various sources. It is intended as information only and is not intended as advice to engage in any specific physical or mental activity. Always consider whether these ideas, concepts, techniques & activities are right for you & always confer with your health professionals.