How badly do you need those expensive new glasses? Less than you might imagine, says Professor Ellen Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard who has studied minfulness for more than 40 years. In a fascinating interview on the Zoe health science website, which came to prominence through its COVID insights, she claims to way to find out is to turn the optician’s letter chart upside down. When she goes for an eye test she says ‘wait a minute’. “As the letters are getting progressively smaller they’re expecting that soon I’m not going to be able to see. So what I did in a study with my students was reverse the eye chart so now the letters get bigger and bigger – what we find is that people can see what they couldn’t see before. What you can see is largely determined by your expectation. You know, if I’m hungry I can see that restaurant sign from a much greater distance.”

Categories: