Does “As If” Thinking Really Work? (NSQ Ep. 12)

Listen now:

Also: how effective is the placebo effect?

*      *      *

Relevant References & Research

Question #1: Can you really fake it until you make it?

  • Here is a link to the Quora post that inspired Stephen’s question about “as if” thinking.
  • Angela mentions an experiment by personality psychologist William Fleeson where research subjects were asked to act extroverted. The full study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2002.
  • Angela references behavioral activation therapy (B.A.T.) as an example of effective “as if” thinking. If you’re interested to learn more, the University of Michigan offers a helpful resource on how to use B.A.T. to treat clinical depression.
  • Angela brings up a recent NSQ episode that celebrates the life of behavioral psychologist Anders Ericsson. You can listen to the full episode, Ep. 8 “Wouldn’t It Be Better to Hear Your Eulogy Before You’re Dead,” in our archives.
  • Angela shares that whenever she feels lost in her career, she tries to imagine what Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck would do in her particular situation. If you’re interested to learn more about Dweck’s work, we recommend checking out her 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
  • Angea refers to the work of Lev Vygotsky, whom she calls “the Freud of Russia.” To learn more about Vygotsky’s fascinating life and work, check out the 2018 book Vygotsky: An Intellectual Biography.

*      *      *

Question #2: How does the placebo effect change our perception of reality?