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Lab Overview

Our lab focuses on how subjective mindsets (e.g., thoughts, beliefs, and expectations) can alter objective reality through behavioral, psychological, and physiological mechanisms. Our work is, in part, inspired by research on the placebo effect, a robust demonstration of the ability of the mindset to elicit healing properties in the body. We are interested in understanding how mindsets affect important outcomes both within and beyond the realm of medicine, in domains such as exercise, diet, and stress. More specifically, we aim to understand how selective information through modalities such as media, marketing, and labeling can inform mindsets, and how mindsets can be consciously and deliberately changed through intervention to affect physiological and psychological health.  

Our research draws upon and integrates the psychology of schemas and appraisals within a range of disciplines including the science of the placebo effect, the behavioral economics of framing, and the sociology of valuation. We collaborate with an interdisciplinary web of scholars including psychologists, sociologists, organizational behavior scholars, and neurobiologists and employ a variety of methods, from experimental studies to surveys to field interventions. Though our approach is interdisciplinary and our methods multi-modal, our focus is precise: to bring together related streams of research to a) understand how mindsets shape reality and b) design interventions that can positively change health, performance, and wellbeing. 

Announcements

THANK YOU TO PARTICIPANTS IN OUR COVID-19 RESEARCH STUDY

September 15, 2020

Thank you to everyone who has helped us with our research on perceptions of the COVID-19 pandemic! Your participation is already making a difference in our understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic. We truly appreciate your participation in our research.

Below are some frequently asked questions about our study. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns at mbl_contact@stanford.edu

Who are we? We’re a team of researchers in the Psychology Department at Stanford University. You can learn more about us and the work we do at mbl.stanford.edu

What is this study? This study aims to uncover people’s  understanding, perceptions of, and responses to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic currently on-going in our country. This study has been approved by the Stanford Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure research compliance.

Why are we asking questions about COVID-19? The COVID-19 pandemic represents a unique experience for nearly every person on the planet. We are interested in understanding how people think about this situation and how they feel, and behave in the context of a pandemic. This can help us design programs to more effectively handle the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives and the society at large.

Why are you following up with participants now? Many surveys ask a group of people one set of questions at one time point. That strategy doesn’t work as well with something like the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed dramatically in the past few months. It’s important to ask these questions at a few time points to see how things may have or may not have changed for you. This helps us look at trends over time to understand what may be getting better,what may be getting worse, and what is staying consistent. Our next steps are to use this data to design programs to help promote change.

Can I see the results? Yes! But not quite yet. With your help we have made some fascinating discoveries about how people think about the COVID-19 and how they have responded to the pandemic. We are eager to share these results with the world, but need to survey people at 1-2 more timepoints to finish this study and to get a more holistic and complete picture of what’s actually unfolding during the pandemic . Once we have completed the entire study, we will share the results on our website.

What information does the survey collect? We have only collected the data you provided to us in the survey. We de-identify all of the data we collect, which means your  email address will not be connected with your answers to the survey. We will never share your contact information and will only present data in aggregate (e.g., to be published in scientific journals or presented at conferences).

Why does the survey link not go to a .edu site? At Stanford, we use a survey platform called Qualtrics to run our study. It is a tool that is commonly used by researchers at Stanford and other institutions to run their studies. Learn more at https://uit.stanford.edu/service/survey or https://www.qualtrics.com/

How can I participate? We are not recruiting new participants at this time. We are only following up with participants who completed our initial survey in March, 2020. 


Congratulations to Rina Horii and Kris Evans on being recognized by the NSF GRFP!

March 31, 2020 

We are proud to announce that research coordinator Rina Horii has been awarded the NSF GRFP and research coordinator Kris Evans was given an honorable mention! Bravo Rina and Kris!


Congratulations to current and former lab members on their next steps!

March 30, 2020

A big congratulations to former graduate student Lauren Howe on her new position as Assistant Professor at the University of Zurich! Congratulations also to current lab members Kris Evans, Rina Horii, and Isaac Handley-Miner on their acceptance to psychology PhD programs! They will be starting their graduate work this fall at Stanford University (Kris), the University of Minnesota (Rina), and Boston College (Isaac).  


MBL is hiring a new lab manager

March 16, 2020

The Mind & Body Lab is looking for a new lab manager to start in summer 2020. Check out the job posting here!


Brad Turnwald, Parker Goyer, Danielle Boles, Alia Crum, and colleagues win NIH Matilda White Riley Early Stage Investigator Paper Competition

MARCH 15, 2020

The paper "Learning one’s genetic risk changes physiology independent of actual genetic risk," first-authored by MBL Postdoc Brad Turnwald, was one of four papers to win this year's NIH Matilda White Riley Early Stage Investigator Paper Competition.


Alia Crum wins Early Career Award from SPHN

MARCH 6, 2020

Alia Crum was awarded the Early Career Award from the Social Personality Health Network at SPSP 2020, which is given to a junior scholar who has made exceptional contributions to the field.


Alia Crum wins Early Career Researcher Award from IPPA

JULY 12, 2019

Alia Crum was awarded the Early Career Researcher Award from the International Positive Psychology Association, which is given to the researcher who, within the first 10 years of completing their PhD, has contributed most significantly to scientific advancement of knowledge in positive psychology.


Congratulations to the 2019 Stanford graduates!

JUNE 16, 2019

A huge congratulations to the all of the 2019 Stanford graduates! We would like to extend a special congratulations to Brad Turnwald, the Mind & Body Lab's first PhD graduate. Brad has been a wonderful colleague, mentor, and friend throughout his time in the lab, and we're thrilled to be keeping him on as a postdoc starting this summer. A special congraulations also to our two fabulous honors thesis students, Matthew Bernstein and Angela Lee.  


Sean Zion wins teaching award

JUNE 10, 2019

Sean Zion, a graduate student in the Mind & Body Lab, was awarded the Zimbardo Teaching Award for excellence in teaching.


Angela Lee wins award for undergraduate honors thesis

JUne 7, 2019

Angela Lee, an honors thesis student in the Mind & Body Lab, was awarded the Firestone Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research, which recognizes the top ten percent of all honors theses in the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering and applied sciences.


MBL'ers honored for posters at Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Annual Conference

FEB 7, 2019

 
Maggie Perry and Eric Smith were both awarded honorable mentions for their posters at the SPSP Intervention Science preconference.

MBL at the 2019 Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Annual Conference

FEB 4, 2019

 
Thursday, February 7, 2019
 
12:30pm (poster session, Intervention Science Preconference)
  • Maggie Perry: “Symptoms As Positive Signals: Changing Mindsets about Side Effects Improves Treatment Outcomes”
  • Isaac Handley-Miner: “Meta-mindsets: A more agentic, ethical, and generalizable approach to mindset change”
2:00pm (presentation, Intervention Science Preconference)
  • Alia Crum: “Wise Interventions in Health Care: Changing Mindsets"
 
Friday, February 8, 2019
 
3:45pm (poster session)
  • Rina Horii: “Food for Thought: A Longitudinal Study of a Healthy Mindset Eating Intervention”
 
Saturday, February 9, 2019
 
6:45pm (poster session)
  • Kris Evans: “Wearable Fitness Trackers and Their Effects on Mindsets and Health: A Longitudinal Experiment”

Edgy Veggies Toolkit Launched

October 8, 2018

 

Stanford SPARQ (Social Psychological Answers to Real-world Questions), in collaboration with the Mind & Body Lab, has launched the "Edgy Veggies" toolkit to help people apply the findings from MBL's research on diet and nutrition. Check it out here!


Alia Crum part of team to receive Stanford Catalyst Award

JUNE 18, 2018

 

The project "Motivating Mobility and Health on a Global Scale," on which Alia Crum is a co-PI, won this year's Stanford Catalyst Award. This interdisciplinary project is a collaboration between faculty from 16 different departments at Stanford. Over the course of three years, it seeks to motivate physical activity at low cost on a massive scale. Read more about it here.


Rina Horii wins Robert Zajonc Award

JUNE 13, 2018

 

Mind & Body Lab senior Rina Horii was selected by the Stanford Psychology Department as the recipient of the Robert Zajonc Award for her honors thesis on mindsets about food.  


Alia Crum wins Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award

JUNE 4, 2018

 

Alia Crum was awarded the 2018 Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award. This award recognizes excellence in teaching and the ability to inspire intellectual and personal development in and beyond the classroom.


MBL at the 2018 Association for Psychological Science (APS) Annual Conference

MAY 18, 2018

 
Thursday, May 24, 2018
 
4:00pm (symposium)
  • Brad Turnwald, Emerson Hardebeck, Kari Leibowitz, and Lauren Howe: “Beyond genetic testing: Should medical treatment be personalized to your psychological profile?”
 
Friday, May 25, 2018 
 
9:30am (poster session)
  • Michelle Chang: “Time warped: Physician warmth & competence relate to extended patient perceptions of consultation time”
10:30am (symposium)
  • Octavia Zahrt: “From making friends to matters of life and death—social comparisons can critically shape social relationships and health”
3:00pm (poster session)
  • Maggie Perry: “Symptoms as positive signals”
  • Steve Rathje: “How the subtle use of metaphorical language shapes our mindsets”
4:00pm (symposium)
  • Alia Crum: “Interventions with impact”
 
Saturday, May 26, 2018 
 
2:00pm (symposium)
  • Alia Crum: “Behavior Change across the Life-Span”
4:00pm (poster session)
  • Rina Horii: “Food for thought: Changing mindsets about healthy eating”
 
Sunday, May 27, 2018
 
9:00am (symposium)
  • Lauren Howe: “Harnessing placebo and minimizing nocebo effects in physical symptoms: The role of learning”
10:30am (symposium)
  • Parker Goyer: “The benefits of a stress is enhancing mindset for minority college students during exam periods”

Kari Leibowitz awarded Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship

May 16, 2018

 

MBL graduate student Kari Leibowitz was awarded the Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship, one of the greatest honors Stanford gives to doctoral students pursuing interdisciplinary research.


Alia Crum wins Dean's Teaching Award

April 12, 2018

 

Alia Crum was awarded the 2018 Humanities & Sciences Dean's Award for First Years of Teaching at Stanford. This award recognizes faculty for their dedication and commitment to outstanding teaching.


MBL at the 2018 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Conference

FEBRUARY 22, 2018

 
Thursday, March 1, 2018 (Health Preconference)
 
10:15am (poster session)
  • Brad Turnwald: "Mind over Genome: Perceived Genetic Risk for Obesity Shapes Physiology Independent of Actual Genetic Risk"
  • Maggie Perry: "The Language of Unhealthy Food on Social Media: Nutritious, but Unappealing and Unsatisfying"
  • Natalie Samuels: "Portrayals of healthy and unhealthy foods in top American films"
11:30am (data blitz)
  • Lauren Howe: "Symptoms Are Positive Signals: Changing Mindsets About Side Effects to Improve Oral Immunotherapy (OIT)"
  • Kari Leibowitz: "Physician Assurance Reduces Patient Symptoms"
 
Saturday, March 3, 2018 (Main Conference)
 
8:00am (symposium)
  • Octavia Zahrt: "Effects of Mindsets on Health and Longevity: Public Health Impact and Underlying Mechanisms"
9:30am (poster session)
  • Brad Turnwald: "Mind over Genome: Perceived Genetic Risk for Obesity Shapes Physiology Independent of Actual Genetic Risk"
  • Kari Leibowitz: "The Role of Patient Beliefs in Healthcare"
  • Sean Zion: "In Sickness and in Health: Validation of a Novel Tool to Assess Mindsets in Healthy and Chronically Ill Populations"
  • Emerson Hardebeck: "'Get Well Soon' May Get You Well, Soon: Physician’s Positive Expectation-Setting Reduces Itch in Allergic Reaction"
11:00am (poster session)
  • Danielle Boles: "Do Play with Your Food: Comparing 'Traditional' and 'Fun' Approaches to Youth Nutrition Education"
12:45pm (symposium)
  • Lauren Howe: "Normative Appeals are More Effective When They Invite People to Work Together toward a Common Cause"
3:45pm (poster session)
  • Michelle Chang: "Time Warped: Physician Warmth and Competence Relate to Extended Patient Perceptions of Consultation Time"
5:15pm (symposium)
  • Alia Crum: "Rethinking Health Behavior Change: Nudging Mindset"

MBL Honors Thesis Students Awarded Sterling Prize

January 30, 2018

 

Rina Horii ('18) and Steve Rathje ('18), both honors thesis students in the Mind & Body Lab, were awarded the J. E. Wallace Sterling Award for Scholastic Achievement. The Sterling Award is one of Stanford's most selective recognitions of a student's overall academic performance.