Jump to content
Science Forums

Law Of Attraction


Recommended Posts

Does anyone here think there is credibility in the so called "Law of Attraction"?. Is it more than just the "power of positive thinking"? Or is there any kind of scientific basis for the principles of the "law"? I have many friends who swear by it and that it has changed their lives, but I just can't figure out why. Maybe it is a type of psychological placebo effect?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Assuming here that you mean this "Law of Attraction," as you weren't explicit about it.

 

While I know that the "Law" is most directly about a very general connection between "thinking positively or negatively" and "outcomes," I don't see why it wouldn't have a direct impact on what I think of when the word "attraction" comes up which is what kind of people are attracted to each other: that is, if you think positively, will you end up with someone you like?

 

But in looking at that question, I don't know why it would need to be made any more complicated than "I don't like jerks" and "jerks tend to insist that everyone ought to like them," and beyond that I see much more anecdotal evidence for "opposites attract."

 

Although I tend to be more technical than artsy, prefer planning things in advance, and reserved and diplomatic socially, I've mostly dated/married hot-blooded artists who were on crusades of various kinds and had no idea where they were going.

 

Of course about half of these guys turned out to be total jerks whether they were "like" or "unlike" me. And being "positive" about any of them seemed to have no effect.

 

All it takes is one counter-example to disprove a theory, but this "Law" is awfully squishy as far as I can tell.

 

 

Women's liberation will not be achieved until a woman can become paunchy and bald and still think that she's attractive to the opposite sex, :phones:

Buffy

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure there's something to it, but I don't have a scientific explanation. Take the old sayings, "Like attracts like" and "if you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas" and similar adages. Not scientific, but basically true enough.

 

In completely non-scientific terminology, we put out or transmit/ broadcast vibrations and tend to attract back to ourselves persons, situations and experiences that resonate to those vibrations/ broadcasts. This goes way beyond being attracted to a similar or opposite type of person.

 

Yeah, I know. I've stuck my foot in it...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Haha, Buffy, I like your comment that it is "squishy". ;)  Yes, I personally tend to be more artsy myself, but my partners have all been stable, reliable and very dependable, not artsy or particularly passionate. So yes, I also get the "opposites attract" part of it. I just wonder about if there is something that is hard wired in our brain that might be connected to this so called law. Factor in confidence, risk-taking, lack of ear or ability to move through fear and taking actions, seems to be all wrapped up in this. We don't hear of many successful people, whether it be in the sciences, media, arts or corporate world who, upon their success say, "I never thought I could do it".  It just makes me wonder...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Example 1

Lewis Hamilton, the F1 driver, held pole position for the British Grand Prix last Saturday during the final minutes of qualifying. He was comfortably ahead of his rivals. Rain had been falling intermittently throughout the three qualifying sessions greatly reducing lap times.

 

With time for one final lap Hamilton decided his pole position was safe and he aborted the run in order save his tires. But the track was drying out fast and five other drivers who stayed out moved ahead of him, pushing him down to sixth on the grid. Among these was his teammate and new pole sitter, Nico Rosberg. He was also going to come in, but remembered a comment by Michael Jordan: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

 

Example 2

Hamilton was devastated. His body language was screaming defeat. He avoided the press and fans alike. Overnight, reflecting with friends and family, he came out positive: reinvigorated, relaxed, communicative and focused. Through consistent, professional driving he moved into second and was methodically hauling in Rosberg who remained in first. Then Rosberg gear box gave up the ghost, he was out and Hamilton won the race comfortably.

 

In both instances it was a positive belief in possibilities that led to a win.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Most Sundays, 42 out of 43 guys and gals go out with very positive thinking onto the NASCAR race track and lose.

 

 

I don't agree. I don't follow NASCAR, but have no reason to believe its underlying character is dramatically different from F1. At least half the F1 drivers in any race know they have no chance of winning the race. However, many of them go out with the positive belief that they can beat their team mate, or finish two places higher than last time, or finish ahead of a specific rival.

 

And the ones who do well are the ones who bring that attitude to more of their races. So, there are plenty of winners in every race.

 

Ultimately, the only person we are competing with is our self.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah but we're also dealing with a highly selected group, hardly a random sample of "people" so it makes it hard to generalize to the whole population. But I do understand the concept you're expressing, and as a corollary to your last line, success is achieving your own goals.

 

And that actually is my more fundamental problem with the line of argument here, because it's edging over into a tautology of "you'll feel successful if you feel good about whatever it is you do."

 

That is, "positive attitude" doesn't so much affect outcomes (with the important exception of "you don't get what you don't ask for" as I like to put it), but it does affect how you feel about what you accomplish.

 

 

When you get up in the morning, you have two choices - either to be happy or to be unhappy. Just choose to be happy, :phones:

Buffy

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yah but we're also dealing with a highly selected group, hardly a random sample of "people" so it makes it hard to generalize to the whole population.

But surely that is the point. If more people adopted this "can do" attitude, then more people would achieve success.

 

From your posts I imagine that you are well familiar with SMART goals. Goals that are:

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Relevant

Timely

 

This addresses the Achievable element. Set a target that can be achieved, but requires full application of ones skill and knowledge sets, or even a manageable expansion of these sets.

 

Decades ago I was opposed to The Power of Positive Thinking (Was that Norman Vincent Peale?). Then, at a management course in Gleneagles (host of this years Ryder Cup), I was shown research that demonstrated it worked. I was a convert.

 

But I do understand the concept you're expressing, and as a corollary to your last line, success is achieving your own goals.

Well, yes. Why would I want to achieve someone elses goals? :)

Solipsistic altruism is fine!

 

And that actually is my more fundamental problem with the line of argument here, because it's edging over into a tautology of "you'll feel successful if you feel good about whatever it is you do."

 

That is, "positive attitude" doesn't so much affect outcomes (with the important exception of "you don't get what you don't ask for" as I like to put it), but it does affect how you feel about what you accomplish.

I think it effects the outcome. I've seen people give up when they could succeed. And I've seen them succeed against the odds because they wouldn't give up. (Of course battle selection can be important.)

 

I was fortunate enough to work for a boss years ago who presented a "can do" face to the world. I only reported to him for less than a year, but in that time I only saw him at a loss and down for about twelve seconds. That followed a resignation that destroyed a solution to a major problem we had spent three days working on.

 

I learned from him that (1) (almost)never let your subordinates no it can't be done (2) it nearly always can be done. As a consequence I have solved operational issues that would have defeated me if I had taken a realistic approach. Being positive, for me, means searching until you find a solution - and there usually is one.

 

When you get up in the morning, you have two choices - either to be happy or to be unhappy. Just choose to be happy, :phones:

Buffy

Or, as I have found, you can stay in bed and sometimes ones wife asks if you would like breakfast. There is always an alternative.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone here think there is credibility in the so called "Law of Attraction"?. Is it more than just the "power of positive thinking"? Or is there any kind of scientific basis for the principles of the "law"?

The “law of attraction” as its underlying theory was first conceived (but the phrase itself not coined) by Phineas Quimby ca 1840, isn’t scientifically credible. I grew from earlier mesmerist ideas, which were based on speculation that as yet poorly understood, but objectively, mechanically measurable effects observable in nearly all biological organisms, could provide simple explanations for biologically complicated phenomena such as thought and disease. This was an exciting idea, I think, because the old, perhaps prehistorically, idea that biology could be explained as inanimate clay-like flesh animated by some “vital fluid” was a popular religious doctrine, which scientific devices seemed poised to confirm. Alas for mesmerists and their intellectual descendants, latter scientific tools, especially microscopy, showed biology to be much more complicated. Mainstream science and art (consider that Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein is essentially speculative science fiction based on the idea of electricity as a simple explanation of biological life) abandoned the idea for newer scientific ideas that were more complicated and less agreeable with traditional religious ones, while a fringe, mostly religious and spiritual, did not.

 

If you accept as discredited the old ideas that the Law of Attraction can be simply and objectively explained by measuring magnetic fields and electric charges, and instead take its conclusion, that thoughts can dramatically effect health and disease in a positive way, optionally introducing a bit of theism you get ideas like those promoted by Christian Science, that disease can be treated by thought (perhaps of a special kind, prayer). Extended to include not only ones own health, you get ideas like those promoted by “intentionality”, that thoughts can affect other people, or perhaps reality itself. This idea gets some propping up by quantum mechanical thought experiments like Schrodinger's cat and the Many Worlds Interpretation, which suggest, in a confused way, that not simply mechanical measurement, but the participation of a mystically defined “observer” who must be or must at least be similar to a human being, be involved for true/false observations to actually exist.

 

I have many friends who swear by it and that it has changed their lives, but I just can't figure out why. Maybe it is a type of psychological placebo effect?

Here, I agree with the skeptical mainstream, who point out that concluding that the act of imagining (or “visualizing”) good things happening itself increases their likelihood of actually happening, is mostly an exercise in poor statistics, because most people who conclude this fail to carefully count both confirming (ie: I think/wish/pray hard that I’ll find a valuable treasure tomorrow, and I do) and contradicting (ie: I think/wish/pray hard that I’ll find a valuable treasure tomorrow, and I don’t) data, an defect known as conformational bias, or “cherry picking”.

 

While I don’t believe that great optimism can cause fortunate things to happen (such as unexpectedly winning a car race), I think it’s clear the lack of sufficient optimism can cause unfortunate things to happen. Great lack of optimism is a reasonable description of depression, a psychiatric disorder, which can cause lethargy, illness, and in the worst cases, suicide.

 

Mental health is complicated. To me, one of the more counter-intuitive aspects of it is that having some irrational beliefs – such as believing in a present-day version of the Law of Attraction – can be mentally healthy. Moderate self-delusion appears to be beneficial, perhaps even necessary, for good mental health.

 

Reconciling the idea that believing untrue things and knowing that they are untrue is tricky. The best way I know to do it is “step back/outside” of yourself, and accept that what you think and feel, and what objectively, physically, is real, are related but not identical.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not really sure about how it works between people, I rather think that opposites attract than like attracts like. But in my experience, when I get up on the wrong side of bed, my whole day is ruined and my mood is down; therefore, everything I encounter that day is negative. This definitely has something to do with out thought pattern.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Here, I agree with the skeptical mainstream, who point out that concluding that the act of imagining (or “visualizing”) good things happening itself increases their likelihood of actually happening, is mostly an exercise in poor statistics, because most people who conclude this fail to carefully count both confirming (ie: I think/wish/pray hard that I’ll find a valuable treasure tomorrow, and I do) and contradicting (ie: I think/wish/pray hard that I’ll find a valuable treasure tomorrow, and I don’t) data, an defect known as conformational bias, or “cherry picking”.

 

 

The visualization aspect of this is one that I find super interesting because while it seems pretty hocus-pocus, even the military and sports teams are using in depth visualization training. The same parts of the brain are stimulated when we visualize as when we perform the action, so how can this not affect our daily lives?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Whether you are wanting to attract a potential partner or better your odds in many other situations, having a positive mood is important to the outcome. Toward that end, it is very helpful to have some understanding of the many factors which influence our mood and health, some of which are adequate rest, good nutrition and physical and mental activity. Beyond that, what attitude you adopt is probably the only real choice of consequence that any of us actually can make in life.

 

 

ATTITUDE

by

Charles Swindoll

 

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company... a church... a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes”

 

Below is a link to a poster with these words. Print it out and post it in a prominent place as a gentle reminder to yourself each day that only you can make this most important choice in your life, each and every day.

 

http://thelittlerebellion.com/wp-content/uploads/photo.jpg

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The visualization aspect of this is one that I find super interesting because while it seems pretty hocus-pocus, even the military and sports teams are using in depth visualization training. The same parts of the brain are stimulated when we visualize as when we perform the action, so how can this not affect our daily lives?

 

Visualization does help when playing sports and other such activities.

Athletes such as Michael Jordan, who admittedly visualized making shots over and over again in his mind before he stepped onto the court before gametime, have showed that athletics are also mental as well as physical.

 

Theres plenty of research on that in Sports Psychology.

If you Practice in your mind your preferred outcome before the event, its more likely to transpire than if you didn't visualize.

I know this from personal experience, and from case studies..

Of course its not 100% accurate, but nothing psychological, physical, or sociological is.

 

Golfers, Basketball players, Baseball players are groups that this is definitely evident.

Same with making goals. If you Visualize yourself at the end of completing a goal, you are more likey to acheive it.

 

Your mind controls alot of things we can't exactly quantify; especially in terms of athletic performance. But it definitely seems very conclusive that visualization of success breeds a better chance of success.

 

What that has to do with the opening posit of "Law of Attraction" I'm not sure, but some threads tend to take a side routes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The same parts of the brain are stimulated when we visualize as when we perform the action ...

You need to be careful about accepting and repeating claims like this – try tracking them back to research published in credible neuroscience journals, and reproduced by other researchers. Preventing the spread of false and inaccurate claims is in large part why hypography’s site rules require that everyone back up their claims with links or references.

 

The claim that “the same parts of the brain are stimulated when we visualize as when we perform the action” is a good example of such a claim.

 

The claim itself seems to me to come recently from Lynne McTaggart 2007 book The Intention Experiment: Using Your Thoughts to Change Your Life and the World (this blog page, presumably by someone who has read McTaggart’s book, which I haven’t, agrees). It refers to (but doesn’t offer any citations – if anybody could find the actual study, I’d much appreciate it) a study where electromyograms – recorded measurements of small electric currents present on the skin, which reveal activity in nearby nerves – were taken of skiers, showing that, before starting their run, they moved their muscles like they did during it. EMGs don’t show brain activity, so McTaggart and other’s conclusion that this shows "the brain does not differentiate between the thought of an action and a real action" isn’t supported even by the vague description of they give of this uncited research.

 

We know from many credible scientific study of the brain – using technologies such as fMRI, which, unlike EMG, can image the brain – that there are great differences between thinking about actions and performing them. In both cases, there is elevated activity in the prefrontal cortex corresponding, but when actually moving, many other brain areas show elevated activity. Also, clearly, the parts of the brain involved in integrating senses and forming memories “knows” the difference between thought of actions and performing the action.

 

One of my favorite psychologists, Fritz Perls, suggested in his 1969 book Gestalt Therapy Verbatim, that planning actions was neurologically like performing the actions, differing simply by the intensity of the nerve activity. For decades, I eagerly waited for experimental confirmation of this and similar hypotheses. Like so many attractively simple scientific hypotheses, however, this one was revealed to be simply wrong by advances in experimental technology – in this case, brain imaging.

 

The visualization aspect of this is one that I find super interesting because while it seems pretty hocus-pocus, even the military and sports teams are using in depth visualization training.

I think a big problem here is that the term “visualize” can mean many very different things, such as rehearsing an action like a gymnastic move you are about to perform, imagining winning a lottery, imagining an end to war or world hunger.

 

I’m personally confident that (to avoid the term ambiguity problem I mention above, let’s call it) using mental imagery usually improves sports performance, both because I use it myself, and because many well-controlled studies support the hypothesis. However, other meditative techniques, such as progressive relaxation, in which you purposefully think of something other than the action you’re going to perform, work well, too.

 

The most sensible explanation I know for this is that many meditative practices reduce pre-performance anxiety, and anxiety impairs performance.

 

This page by psychologist Annie Plessenger has a synopsis of studies on mental imagery and sports. I recommend caution around this subject – consider, for example, a much mentioned (such as in this nicely written health article), but never AFAIK properly cited, study of basketball freethrows and mental imagery said to have been conducted at the University of Chicago by a Dr. Judd Blaslotto. As best I and others can tell, it’s likely a fabrication, and almost certainly not published in a peer-reviewed journal. This U of Chicago library suggestion post suggests no Dr Blaslotto even exists, while this faculty page suggests he’s named Judson Biasiotto, and is a professor at Albany State University’s School of Education. Like most academics, he has publications, such as “ Effect of Four Fatigue Levels on Performance and Learning of a Novel Dynamic Balance Skill” (1974), and he’s written several sports and exercise self-help books (see this Amazon author page), but I’m unable to find a verifiable citation of the famous basketball study.

 

What that has to do with the opening posit of "Law of Attraction" I'm not sure, but some threads tend to take a side routes.

Not much, I think.

 

On one hand, many people have shown that mental imagery can improve sports performance. On the other, proponents of the claim that thinking changes the external universe in a mysterious way, such as the Intention Experiment Community, believe that many people thinking can measurably effect such things as carefully isolated electronic random number generators.

 

These are two very different subjects. I think the latter is unsupported, and pseudoscience.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...