The Power of Expectations

Photo by RicoShen; Wikimedia Commons

Photo by RicoShen; Wikimedia Commons

Scientific research has shown that when you expect something good to happen, your expectations can bend reality to some extent and bring the positive outcomes your way.

The classic example of this is from the field of medicine: the placebo effect. If you are prescribed a sugar pill believing it is an effective pain reliever or antidepressant or sleep aid, your body responds appropriately and brings you the expected relief.

Now we know that the placebo effect extends far beyond the doctor’s office. Author Chris Berdik reviews evidence of the placebo effect in multiple domains of life. He describes a study in which people’s expectations of the quality of wine they are about to drink actually changes the level of activity in the brain’s reward centers.

In another study, experienced weight lifters are told that they’ve taken a performance-enhancing medication, and they are able to surpass their personal bests. In yet another study, track athletes were told that pre-race jitters would actually heighten their level of performance, and their performance actually improved.

If you interpret a situation in such a way that it generates positive expectations of the future, you actually help to create good things in the future.

How can you use this phenomenon to your advantage?


One thought on “The Power of Expectations

  1. It seems like this is superstition. The belief that if you do something, a positive result will occur. Are superstitions good?

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