They showed that grammatical aspect has magickal efficacy of on self state
Silliness from the self-help industry has trickled down into studies on how we can speak our way into actual state change.
Creative visualization, affirmation, Law of Attraction, magick, faith, and positive thinking all hold that physical reality can be effected by belief—and, thus, by speech.
If speech magick is real, then differences in speech should effect differences in result. Not only differences in content words, but also differences in grammar.
Here is a study that tests the effect of grammatical aspect on subjective state. Aspect expresses the nature of temporal extension. Perfective aspect makes the event finite, point-like, and completed (I ate it). Imperfective aspect makes the event ongoing, processual, and unfinished (I was eating it).
Well, if speech magick is real, recollecting then past traumatic incidents uttered in the imperfect aspect (I was crying) should have stronger effects on current mood than those uttered in the perfect aspect (I cried).
This makes sense: if speech determines being, then the ontology of the working-making speech should determine the ontology of the material being magically informed.
Note also that the experimenters are not exactly tackling high magick here. The subject’s aren’t speaking objects or states of affairs into existence, merely their own states. This should be an easy accomplishment for the Law of Attraction—no spatial distance needs bridging, no action at a distance needs explaining, and we already accepts the magickal efficacy of the will on itself and the imagination.
So they did the experiment and … success! Grammar has magickal potency, and ipso facto speech magick (directed at the matter of the self) has objective validity.
Then somebody found out that the experimenter cheated and made up the data. He said it was his grad student. The article was retracted. Check it out here.
Talking qua speech is not what pushes you into a new state when you do happen to be talking while your state is changing. Bad mood cannot speak mood into existence through semantic hypnosis. Marinating your attention in meaning (that is, in schematizing images for concepts in a way that absorbs you into their presenting) will not itself work. Contrary to the champions of that method—The Secret and Louise Hay, who stressed the method of treating the goal as already accomplished and present.