Based in Dorchester, MA
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About the Book
We all know expectations matter—in school, in sports, in the stock market. From a healing placebo to a run on the bank, hints of their self-fulfilling potential have been observed for years. But now researchers in fields ranging from medicine to education to criminal justice are moving beyond observation to investigate exactly how expectations
work—and when they don’t.
In Mind Over Mind, journalist Chris Berdik offers a captivating look at the frontiers of expectations research, revealing how our brains work in the future tense and how our assumptions—about the next few milliseconds or the next few years—bend reality.
We learn how placebo calories can fill us up, why wine judges can’t agree, how fake surgery can sometimes work better than real surgery, and how imaginary power can be corrupting. We meet scientists who have found that wearing taller and more attractive avatars in a virtual world boosts confidence in real life, gambling addicts whose brains make losing feel like winning, and coaches who put blurry glasses on athletes to lift them out of slumps.
Along the way, Berdik probes the paradox of expectations. Their influence seems based on illusion, even trickery, but they can create their own reality, for good or for ill. If we can unlock their secrets, we may be able to harness their power and sidestep their pitfalls.
About the Author
I'm a freelance science journalist. I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and now live in Boston. A former staff editor at the Atlantic and Mother Jones, I have written for New Scientist, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post, and many other publications. Mind Over Mind is my first book.
For me, the most interesting stories start with curiosity. Not just the foundational questions about who, what, when, and why, but real, head-scratching curiosity. That's what draws me to science writing. If I've done my job right, the reader feels drawn into the process of exploration and discovery. I like to get readers out of the lab and tell human stories. Science is messy. Sometimes it's frustrating, or contentious, or even funny. It's never dull.