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Physical perception

Mind over matter: Sense of power tied to perception of objects' weight

Thursday, February 06, 2014 by: J. Anderson
Tags: physical perception, weight, psychology

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(NaturalNews) We've all heard the saying "mind over matter." Well that may be an extremely appropriate adage. Recent research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that the more powerless a person feels socially and personally, the heavier physical objects may appear to them! For individuals who feel powerless, physically challenging tasks appear more difficult compared to people with a greater sense of power.

The study was conducted by surveying the participants on their own social power and then followed up by having them lift boxes that varied in weight and make a guess as to the weight of the objects. To determine a person's sense of their own social power, the team conducted disguised tests which covered up the true purpose of the social-power-assessing tests. Compared to people who had a sense of social or personal power, the powerless individuals were found to consistently perceive the boxes as heavier!

The researchers indicated that these results could be because, during times when we feel powerless (evolutionarily speaking, these are times of limited resources), it's best to take a cautious approach in order to save limited resources. One of the researchers who conducted the study, Eun Hee Lee, explained, "This research demonstrates that people's social role, as indicated by a sense of social power, or a lack therefore, can change the way they see the physical environment."

According to Lee, this can also mean that those experiencing powerlessness can actually perceive the world as "full of heavy burdens." Lee also explained, "Power plays a role when it is present in a given moment, but also when it comes to people's personality. We find that personality, which determines how people interact with the social world, also shapes how people interact with the physical world."

The sense of power and the power of our own minds is starting to be fully understood. For instance, the mind can play a large role in your overall feeling of well-being and even your immune system. Likewise, research has demonstrated that elderly individuals' perceptions of getting older and the aging process mostly depend on attitude, not on physical disability or disease! Eun Hee Lee indicated that the study is the first to illustrate that a sense of power can change the way people feel about the actual physical world; if you feel powerless, the world may actually weigh more heavily on you!

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