Our beliefs can have a profound impact on our health, personal development and how well we live consciously and creatively.
A PsyBlog post summarizes a social psychology experiment* demonstrating how potent and self-limiting beliefs can be.
his project involved a group of students who were told they were taking part in a study about the “psychological and medical aspects of athletics.”
The post explains, “Not true, in fact the researchers were going to trick participants into thinking that how long they could submerge their arms in cold water was diagnostic of their health status, when really it showed just how ready people are to deceive themselves. This is how they did it.
“The participants were first asked to plunge their arms into cold water for as long as they could. The water was pretty cold and people could only manage this for 30 or 40 seconds.
“Then participants were given some other tasks to do to make them think they really were involved in a study about athletics. They had a go on an exercise bike and were given a short lecture about life expectancy and how it related to the type of heart you have.
“They were told there were two types of heart:
* Type I heart: associated with poorer health, shorter life expectancy and heart disease.
* Type II heart: associated with better health, longer life expectancy and low risk of heart disease.
“Half were told that people with Type II hearts (apparently the ‘better’ type) have increased tolerance to cold water after exercise while the other half that it decreased tolerance to cold water.”
Deception in the service of science
“Except of course this was all lies only made up to make participants think that how long they could hold their arm under water was a measure of their health, with half thinking cold-tolerance was a good sign and half thinking it was a bad sign.
“Now time for the test: participants had another go at putting their arms into the cold water for as long as they could.
“People who thought it was a sign of a healthy heart to hold their arms underwater for longer did just that, while those who believed the reverse all of a sudden couldn’t take the cold.
“That’s all well and good, but were these people really lying to themselves or just the experimenters and did they believe those lies?
Hook, line and sinker
“After the arm-dunking each participant was asked whether they had intentionally changed the amount of time they held their arms underwater. Of the 38 participants, 29 denied it and 9 confessed, but not directly.
“Many of the 9 confessors claimed the water had changed temperature. It hadn’t of course, this was just a way for people to justify their behaviour without directly facing their self-deception.”
* Reference: Causal versus diagnostic contingencies: On self-deception and on the voter’s illusion. Quattrone, George A.; Tversky, Amos. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol 46(2), Feb 1984, 237-248.
Source article: The Truth About Self-Deception.
[Added image from article: The Toolbox of Self-Deception, by Sam Sommers, PhD, author of Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World.]
> For information on how to change self-limiting beliefs, see articles by Morty Lefkoe, founder of The Lefkoe Method.
> A free sample of his approach is available at ReCreate Your Life.
Article publié pour la première fois le 04/12/2014