You’re in pain. You take a painkilling drug. You don’t really believe that it will work but you take it because someone has nagged you into it. The pain remains. So you were right, it was useless. But the drugs seem to work for others. Why not you? Here’s why – you didn’t believe in it. At least that’s who science is now saying.According to recent finding, pessimism stops drugs working.
A patient’s belief that a drug will not work can become a self fulfilling prophecy, according to researchers. They showed the benefits of painkillers could be boosted or completely wiped out by manipulating expectations.
If you’re into the science, you can read an abstract of the research paper here, or a more readable interview with Oxford University’s Professor Irene Tracey here. The gist? MRI scans showed that the brain ‘s pain networks responded to different extents according to the volunteers ‘ expectations. Volunteers really did experience different levels of pain accordign to their beliefs, although the administration of pain relief remained constant.
I can see some types of people getting carried away with this. “Unless you beleive, you will not achieve!”