Creative Visualization Doesn’t Work?

Or so claim researchers who publish in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

Or is it just fantasies (winning the lottery, etc.) that don’t work?

But ultimately, Happes and Oettingen believe that positive fantasies are likely to scupper your changes of obtaining your goals. “Instead of promoting achievement, positive fantasies will sap job-seekers of the energy to pound the pavement, and drain the lovelorn of the energy to approach the one they like,” they write. “Fantasies that are less positive – that question whether an ideal future can be achieved, and that depict obstacles, problems and setbacks – should be more beneficial for mustering the energy needed to obtain success.”

What do you think of the experiment design compared to an actual visualization?

And this zinger at the end:

This study isn’t the first to explode the myth of a traditional self-help tool. A 2009 paper found that repeating positive mantras about themselves led people low in self-esteem to feel worse.

2 thoughts on “Creative Visualization Doesn’t Work?

  1. Pitch313

    I gotta say that whatever these experimenters asked their test subjects to do, it has little to no similarity to creative visualization as passed along to me. Maybe the tasks and goals they proposed are too self-centered or linked too strongly to items and outcomes over a short term.

    In any case, I ma not stopping my own creative visualizations on account of this report. I’m intending to visualize more and let my creativity run free!

  2. Pitch313

    My bad. The experimenters are testing creative visualization as described in New Thought and sports psychology. What I learned and treat as creative visualization is more like astral travel, pathworking, and/or shamanic journeying.

    But I gotta say that affirmation-based visualizations did not cause my self-esteem to decline or specific tasks/performances to wither.

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