Intentions change how we experience things. Kindness does soothe pain and increase pleasure.
A nurse’s tender loving care really does ease the pain of a medical procedure, and grandma’s cookies really do taste better, if we perceive them to be made with love – suggests newly published research by a University of Maryland psychologist. The findings have many real-world applications, including in medicine, relationships, parenting and business.
“The way we read another persons intentions changes our physical experience of the world,” says UMD Assistant Professor Kurt Gray, author of “The Power of Good Intentions,” newly published online ahead of print in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. Gray directs the Maryland Mind Perception and Morality Lab.
“The results confirm that good intentions – even misguided ones – can sooth pain, increase pleasure and make things taste better,” the study concludes. It describes the ability of benevolence to improve physical experience as a “vindication for the power of good.”
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