Is there the power of positive thinking? In principle, there is no proof of this, no matter how much some self-help books and counseling magazines urge us to raise our best “good waves” to the cosmos.
Someone who believes they can achieve a certain goal is more likely to achieve it than someone who does not trust their own resources. This is absolutely true, but it has nothing to do with the “good atmosphere”.
Perseverance Matters More Than Positive Thinking
The key mechanism of action is persistence. A person with moderate or high confidence in their own management skills and abilities will not be so easily discouraged by problems that arise along the way and will be willing to step up their efforts in the face of adversity.
On the contrary, the one who does not have a good idea of himself, will be easily discouraged and will abandon the crusade at the slightest failure.
The role of expectations
The same goes for the expectations we place on a product.
Many studies have shown that when people take a supposed pain reliever that has been reported to be one of the most expensive on the market, they experience great relief from an illness compared to when they are told the pain reliever is generic. or that it is a pain reliever. cheaper drug, among the many that can be purchased at a pharmacy.
The trick, in both cases, is to give people a neutral pill with no real property to fight pain: a placebo. The problem with these experiments is that they lack a certain scientific rigor, because objectively measuring pain is not easy and has some operational drawbacks.
Let’s see, participants are asked, after taking the tablet, to give a score for the pain they feel on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is unbearable pain and 1 is no pain.
The decision inherent in this procedure is the impossibility of measuring perception with reliable parameters. the different levels of pain experienced by the person.
In other words, it is not possible to verify whether someone’s pain score is real. It should be remembered that what a person “thinks” they feel depends on a number of factors closely related to their subjectivity.
However, in another set of experiments, the power that expectations exert over certain intellectual abilities was highlighted.
The drink experience and suggestion
A group of people have been recruited to solve a mental game. From a series of messy letters, they must have deduced the correct word at some point.
This was used to define a baseline, i.e. to know the average number of words that can be reached in a neutral condition. For example, before the presentation of the letters “rcberoe”, they had to construct the word “brain”. The end result was set at 9 actual words out of a total of 15 words with the letters out of order.
In the second condition of the experiment, participants were previously given an energy drink containing caffeine.
They were also appropriately informed that this type of drink had the property of improving mental activity, and after a few minutes of waiting for the potion to take effect, they were given the task of rearranging it in words.
On average, participants who took the energy drink also solved 9 wordsIn other words, the same amount that the experimental subjects of the neutral condition had solved before.
It seemed that the generic expectation of improved mental activity did not have enough power to generate a real impact on the intellectual abilities of the participants. But the amazing thing happened next.
In a third condition of the experiment, written information was added which advocated the supposed beneficial properties of the drink. Specifically, a series of brochures were distributed to participants explaining that the energy drink they were about to consume had been scientifically proven to dramatically increase the speed of brain processing of information.
Such a discovery, which translated faster when solving mental games, had been confirmed by scientists after conducting more than a dozen studies. What was the result? This time the participants got really ‘smarter’ and solved an average of about 12 words.In other words, about 3 words more than the control group.
All the false scientific information they had read before, which claimed that the energy drink had incredible properties of improving intellectual capacity, had generated an accumulation of expectations of such magnitude, that they favorably predisposed people to make a greater cognitive effort, with real and tangible results. They had been suggested.
Another sample of suggestions based on expectations
In another interesting experiment, a group of people were individually shown a photograph of an individual with a neutral expression on their face, and wondered what impression that person made on them.
Responses obtained were consistent with participants’ prior beliefs. Halfway through the group, he had been told earlier that the man in the photo was a Nazi doctor who had presided over atrocious experiments in a concentration camp during World War II.
In the other half of the group, he was told that on the contrary, he was a leader of the resistance who fiercely fought fascism and that his courage saved dozens of Jews from certain death.
So, when faced with the same picture, the people of the first group felt that this man was considered ruthless, that cruelty was transparent on his face, and that he could barely suppress a grimace of contempt and irony.
The people in the second group, on the other hand, made sure to face a kind, warm and reliable face.. Consistent with the above, the power of expectations to tint or alter perceptual experience has also been demonstrated in a series of ingenious experiments.
Image-based wine tasting
In another survey, expert tasters praised the quality of a wine at seven dollars, when they were previously informed that the bottle cost seventy dollars and that the drink was served in delicate glass goblets.
Be aware that if you are a restaurant owner, you need to be very careful with the presentation of your meals, as they are as or more important than the preparation of the dish itself.
The power of anticipation
Everything seems to indicate that when we predict that something will be good, it is very likely that it will turn out to be the case.
For example, we can drink a tall glass of beer mixed with vinegar and savor it without prejudice if the one who invites us simply omits the detail of adulteration. Conversely, if he tells us exactly what we’re going to drink, as soon as we take a sip we’ll frown and have a disgusted face.
In other words, that is to say if we expect something to taste bad, we actually perceive a bad taste, Thanks to the previous expectations that we have generated.
Likewise, if we are to rate how much we love the coffee served in a particular cafe, it will look much tastier and we will be well prepared to give it a high mark if everything around the coffee, including dishes and tablecloths. of the site, appears to be of superior quality.
If we then have the chance to try the same coffee, but are told it’s another brand, and they serve it to us in a plastic cup, this time we’ll find it mediocre or downright bad. . Again, our expectations will have a powerful influence on the perception of taste.
It is not enough in the brain for a product to be truly the best on the market, or for a person to be a professional exempt from its discipline … it must also look like it. Our prior knowledge of something, our cultural beliefs, prejudices and stereotypes, are all factors that affect the way we see the world.