Mind (ghrelin) Over Milkshake

Mind Over Milkshake: How Your Thoughts Fool Your Stomach  
April 14, 2014

“Labels are not just labels; they evoke a set of beliefs,” says Alia Crum, a clinical psychologist who does research at the Columbia Business School in New York.

A couple of years ago, Crum found herself considering what seems like a pretty strange question.
She wanted to know whether the information conveyed by a nutritional label could physically change what happens to you — “whether these labels get under the skin literally,” she says, “and actually affect the body’s physiological processing of the nutrients that are consumed.”

Both before and after the people in the study drank their shakes, nurses measured their levels of a hormone called ghrelin.

Ghrelin is a hormone secreted in the gut … the hunger hormone. When ghrelin levels in the stomach rise, that signals the brain that it’s time to seek out food.
“It also slows metabolism,” Crum says, “just in case you might not find that food.”
But after your ghrelin rises, and you have a big meal (say a cheeseburger and a side of fries), then your ghrelin levels drop. That signals the mind, Crum says, that “you’ve had enough here, and I’m going to start revving up the metabolism so we can burn the calories we’ve just ingested.”
On the other hand, if you only have a small salad, your ghrelin levels don’t drop that much, and metabolism doesn’t get triggered in the same way.

For a long time scientists thought ghrelin levels fluctuated in response to nutrients that the ghrelin met in the stomach. So put in a big meal, ghrelin responds one way; put in a small snack and it responds another way.

But that’s not what Crum found in her milkshake study.

Change your mindset, change the game
Dr. Alia Crum

Choice Sets and Relativity

FlossPerDayHow often do you floss per day?

How often do you floss per month?

Answering on the left side of the scale implies you are below the norm, and answering on the right implies you are above the norm.

Your temporary change in mindset may affect imminent decisions.

1.4 Choice Sets and Relativity
A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior
Duke University

How to fail

09.30.2012 (was 10.23.2011)
Carol Dweck on the Psychology of Failure and Success
Carol Dweck is a researcher at Stanford University.
She says everybody fails but not everybody fails the right way.  According to Dweck, it’s how we think about failure that matters.
Dweck is the author of “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.”