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In the Mind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance

Michael Thackrey, PhD
JAMA. 1993;270(7):885. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510070109054.
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An individual lacking in self-confidence listens to a tape of the ocean surf and the cry of gulls; embedded below the threshold of hearing are affirmations, such as "I am a secure person. I believe in myself more and more every day." Will his self-esteem be enhanced? A stressed-out person feels uncomfortably revved up; she seeks out a quiet place, closes her eyes, and repeats a Sanskrit mantra. Will her heart rate be slowed? An undercover government operative makes a life-and-death decision as to whether an informant's statement is the truth or a deliberate lie; he pays close attention to the other's body cues and tone of voice. Will such signs help him to decide correctly? These questions, and more, are the subject of In theMind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance (and the respective answers are probably not, not better than simply sitting quietly, and probably so).

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