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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

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.