Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Believing is seeing.

Langer et al. do experiments showing that vision can be improved by manipulating our mind-set:
.... In Study 1, participants were primed with the mind-set that pilots have excellent vision. Vision improved for participants who experientially became pilots (by flying a realistic flight simulator) compared with control participants (who performed the same task in an ostensibly broken flight simulator). Participants in an eye-exercise condition (primed with the mind-set that improvement occurs with practice) and a motivation condition (primed with the mind-set “try and you will succeed”) demonstrated visual improvement relative to the control group. In Study 2, participants were primed with the mind-set that athletes have better vision than nonathletes. Controlling for arousal, doing jumping jacks resulted in greater visual acuity than skipping (perceived to be a less athletic activity than jumping jacks). Study 3 took advantage of the mind-set primed by the traditional eye chart: Because letters get progressively smaller on successive lines, people expect that they will be able to read the first few lines only. When participants viewed a reversed chart and a shifted chart, they were able to see letters they could not see before. Thus, mind-set manipulation can counteract physiological limits imposed on vision.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Deric,
    One more good example of the Pygmalion effect. I read the same from two other experiences, one on priming one group on its expertise in geography, another on priming one group on the elderly's issues for moving and standing up.
    Those two experiences were very conclusive: the geopraphic-primed group performed far better than another non primed one in an exam focused on geography, and the elderly'issues-primed one showed slow moving and painful standing up when the course ended...
    Priming, the weapon of massive disruption!

    Guy Debaux, France