A Weighty Matter: Heaviness Influences the Evaluation of Disease Severity, Drug Effectiveness, and Side Effects

Autor(en): Kaspar, Kai 
Stichwörter: EMBODIMENT; ERP; GENDER-DIFFERENCES; INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES; MEDICATION; METAPHORS; Multidisciplinary Sciences; Science & Technology - Other Topics
Erscheinungsdatum: 2013
Journal: PLOS ONE
Volumen: 8
Ausgabe: 11
Peoples' perception of diseases and pharmaceutical drugs is a critical issue in health research. Beliefs about disease severity influence the compliance with recommendations for convalescence and the motivation to perform proper health-behavior. The estimated effectiveness of drugs and severity of side effects influence medication adherence and contribute to placebo effects. The present paper closes the gap between these effects and the concept of embodied cognition from a metaphor-enriched perspective. In five studies, we demonstrate that the bodily sensation of weight influences our evaluations of diseases and drugs. The experience of heaviness enhanced the estimated seriousness of diseases and the estimated effectiveness of drugs. The perceived seriousness of drug side effects was also affected by weight but only when drug effectiveness was not attended to. Moreover, the incidental sensation of weight shows a novel effect when evaluating weight-related drugs. The results are in line with the idea of embodied metaphors and reveal important boundary conditions which contribute to a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms.
ISSN: 19326203
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078307

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