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lifeflame's avatar

Who was the psychologist who deliberately set out to catch a cold?

Asked by lifeflame (5805 points ) December 14th, 2013

I remember reading an anecdote about a psychologist who was convinced that illness comes from our fears and a resistance to the understanding of the process; and so he did a sort of extreme experiment with himself in which he deliberately tried to “catch a cold.” He went into the snowy mountains into a snowstorm and tried to induce a cold in himself and try to understand the process. I think he managed to get himself sick, but apparently he never caught the common cold again.

Does anyone remember who the psychologist was, and where this reference is from (the book / chapter?)
I want to say Carl Jung because of the snow scene sounds like Switzerland; but I’ve also been reading Murray Stein, Arnold Mindell, etc recently. Or another source entirely?

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3 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, he couldn’t have been very bright because you don’t catch a cold by being cold. A cold is caused by a virus. There are many strains of cold viruses, but once you’ve caught one strain you’re immune to that strain. That’s why babies and toddlers have a cold every other day, and older people only very rarely.

He would have had better luck catching a cold by locking himself in a daycare with a thousand children.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Could you have possibly been reading something by or about a Christian Scientist? That’s the only somewhat modern movement I can think of that believes disease is caused by fear.

@Dutchess_III Presumably, the person in question did this before germ theory was widely understood and accepted.

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