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Tall Tales about the Mind and BrainSeparating fact from fiction$
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Sergio Della Sala

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198568773

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198568773.001.0001

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Can mind conquer cancer?

Can mind conquer cancer?

Chapter:
(p.440) Chapter 27 Can mind conquer cancer?
Source:
Tall Tales about the Mind and Brain
Author(s):

Barry L. Beyerstein

Wallace I. Sampson

Zarka Stojanovic

James Handel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198568773.003.0028

Given the weakness of the case for psychological contributions to the onset and alleviation of cancer, this chapter asks what has kept the notion alive so long. Once again, it appears that the appeal of implausible ideas and unlikely findings is embedded in the social milieu of the times, the so-called ‘Zeitgeist’. The popular resurgence of comforting beliefs in the miraculous powers of the mind spilled over from New Age, postmodernist circles to affect thinking in many areas of academia. While research has demonstrated that psychological factors play a larger role in many diseases than most medical researchers once thought, the extension of these findings to the mechanisms of cancer turns out to have been overly enthusiastic. These trends and some researchers were swept along by the mentalistic revival.

Keywords:   cancer, mind, New Age

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