Can we produce undesirable effects with our mind?

Yes we can, and the nocebo effect is proof of that. It’s the opposite of the placebo effect which is producing desirable effects.

This study is an example of how the mind can increase pain perception. (Schmid J, et al. 2013). In this research functional MRI was used to evaluate the response after an intravenous application of an inert substance with either positive instructions of pain relief or negative instructions of pain increase.

The negative instructions significantly increased the pain, while the positive instructions significantly decreased the pain. Different areas of the brain were also found to be activated depending on the instructions, if they were positive or negative. Depending on what you focus on, you get results accordingly.

Be aware of what you are focusing on and what you are thinking about because what you put your attention on, you will get more of.

It’s easy to start to think in unproductive ways, but it can pay off to be more aware. If you catch yourself thinking destructive thoughts get in the habit of changing it immediately.

This is only a matter of training.


Schmid J1, Theysohn N, Gaß F, Benson S, Gramsch C, Forsting M, Gizewski ER, Elsenbruch S. Neural mechanisms mediating positive and negative treatment expectations in visceral pain: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study on placebo and nocebo effects in healthy volunteers. Pain. 2013 Nov;154(11):2372-80. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2013.07.013. Epub 2013 Jul 16.
  • Category: Brain
  • Author: Didrik Sopler
  • Published: 2020-03-28
  • Comments: 0
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