The director of the CORE lab, Dr. John Coley, was recently featured in a Popular Mechanics article: “The Science of Bad Vibes: Can Some Places Really Hold Onto Negative Energy?”
The article discusses the science behind feeling “negative energy” in a location that may seem “haunted” or may have associations with historical tragedies. There are three theories associated with this concept: the emotional residue theory, the geopathic stress theory, and the power of expectation theory.
Dr. Coley speaks to the power of expectation theory, and how our minds can subconsciously influence our perceptions in these seemingly “haunted” locations. How we expect to feel can strongly influence our actual emotions, as we automatically form associations which can affect attitudes and behaviors. For example, environments different from what we are used to can spark underlying stress, without us even knowing it. So, a “haunted” house may just subvert our expectations of a “normal” house, causing an automatic emotional response in our brains and bodies.
You can read more about this interesting concept here!
“Studies in which participants predicted the mood of a character based on the emotions of a person who previously lived in their apartment, or chose a room based on a sign on a door, reinforce an old point in psychology, which is that we quickly and automatically form associations, and those can influence attitudes and behavior.” – Dr. Coley