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How Beliefs Create Reality

20N
Subject: 
PSYCH

This seminar will take an interdisciplinary approach to exploring how subjective aspects of the mind (e.g., thoughts, beliefs, and expectations) can fundamentally change objective reality. Over the course of the semester, students will be challenged to think critically about research from psychology, sociology, and medicine, which suggests that what we think, believe and expect plays a significant role in determining our physical health, performance and well-being. Students will explore research on how mindsets about nutrition, exercise, and stress can alter the body's response to those phenomena. Students will also uncover how social interactions with friends, family, colleagues and the media influence the perceived quality and impact of cultural products such as art, music, and fashion. And students will learn about the neurological and physiological underpinnings of the placebo effect, a powerful demonstration of expectation that produces real, healing changes in the body. Finally, students will have the opportunity to consider real world applications in disciplines including policy, business, medicine, academics, athletics and public health and consider the ethical implications of those applications. Throughout the class active participation and an open mind will be critical to success. The final weeks of class will be dedicated to student designed studies or interventions aimed to further explore the power of self-fulfilling prophecies, placebo effects, and the social-psychological creation of reality.

Course ID: 
215 592
Grading: 
Letter or Credit/No Credit