EP 159 Psych Files Brief #3: Evidence in Favor of Affirmations? The Licensing Effect and the Power of Gossip


What’s Wrong With a Little Gossip?

While some research points out that gossipers are in general disliked, there is an upside: sharing negative gossip can actually help two people like each other better. In this episode we’ll find out the benefits of sharing a tasty piece of negative gossip.

The Licensing Effect

If you take supplements you need to hear this news about how you might be using your taking of the supplements to “license” other activities that aren’t so good for your health.

  • Chiou, Wen-Bin, Yang, Chao-Chin and Wan, Chao-Chin (2011). Ironic Effects of Dietary Supplementation: Illusory Invulnerability Created by Taking Dietary Supplements Licenses Health-Risk Behaviors. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/0956797611416253

Evidence in Favor of Affirmations?

In a previous episode on self affirmations I presented some strongly negative evidence. However, in this study there might be a role for affirmations – especially in helping people with social anxiety to feel a bit more confident.

  • Stinson, D. A., Logel, C., Shepherd, S. and Zanna, M.P. (2011). Rewriting the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Social Rejection: Self-Affirmation Improves Relational Security and Social Behavior up to 2 Months Later. Psychological Science, doi:10.1177/0956797611417725.

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Episode 104: Can Positive Affirmations Improve Your Self Esteem?

Can positive affirmations help raise your self esteem? People use daily affirmations and money affirmations to help them feel more confident, build their self esteem and bring positive events into their lives. But do they really work? If not, then what will? We explore these questions in this episode of The Psych Files.


We propose that, contrary to popular belief, positive self-affirmations can be useless for some people, even though they may benefit others. They may even backfire, making some people feel worse rather than better. – Wood, et. al, 2009

Affirmations and Self Esteem