Changing Your Mind Can Make You Less Anxious

Changing Your Mind Can Make You Less Anxious

via the Atlantic by Arthur C Brooks

n the late 1950s and early 1960s, the psychologist Henry Murray asked a sample of college sophomores to participate in a seemingly innocuous experiment in which they would write their “personal philosophy of life,” including their core values and guiding principles, and then engage in a civil debate with a young lawyer about the merits of the philosophy. He did not tell the participants that the lawyer had been instructed to interrogate them and rip their philosophy to shreds in a “vehement, sweeping, and personally abusive” way. They used techniques Murray had developed in vetting intelligence agents during World War II.

The results were fairly predictable. Murray found that the students were generally intensely uncomfortable at having their views attacked in this way. Most hated it and remembered the experiment negatively even years later. One of the student participants was Ted Kaczynski, who went on to become the Unabomber. Noting that his revenge fantasies and belief in the evils of society began during his college years, some have linked his philosophy to the Murray experiment. (Others dispute this idea.)

But not all of Murray’s participants recall the experiment as a horrible experience. In his book Think Again, Adam Grant, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, notes that most of the students had a negative experience. But Grant’s research also showed that a few notable outliers said they liked it—at least one found it fun—likely because they were forced to rethink their beliefs.

This latter group might have been onto something important. Rethinking your opinions—and changing your views when your facts are proved wrong or someone makes a better argument—can make your life better. It can make you more successful, less anxious, and happier…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE