Here’s a compelling quote by Atkinson:
“There is a certain point to which I would direct your attention at this stage. I refer to the well-known psychological fact that “mental states express themselves in physical action.”
Every mental state has its associated physical action. And these actions when perceived by another person, are apt to induce similar mental states in that person, along the lines of mental suggestion. But there is another law, less understood by the public, and that is that “the manifestation of physical action tends to induce in the mind of the person performing it, the mental states generally associated with the production of the
Let us take a common example, to illustrate the operation of these two related laws. Let us suppose that you are holding a mental state of anger, fight, combativeness, etc. In that case you will find that your brows will frown; your jaws will be fixed in a savage “bite,” and slightly protruded; and your hands will be clenched—the mental state has taken form in physical action.
Very well, then you all recognize this fact. But there is the law reversed. If you will frown deeply; clench
your fists savagely; fix your jaws in a fighting trim, etc., and will maintain that physical attitude for five minutes, at the same time allowing it to manifest in your walk, etc. (as it surely will) without interference, you will find yourself growing into a mental state of annoyance, combativeness, etc., and if you keep it up long enough, you will be “mad in earnest.” So true is this that if you carry the thing far enough, and run into someone else, you will be very apt to “get into a row” with him.
And, still more remarkable is the fact, the person that you “run into” will be very apt to take up the mental suggestion of your manner, and will also “feel fighty.” It would not take much to stir up trouble between the two of you.
And, still more remarkable, if you continue this physical attitude until it produces the mental state, you will find that you are inducing similar mental states in those around you, by the agency of mentative currents. So you see the close connection between physical action, mental states, suggestion, and telementation! They act, and react upon each other. What has been said of the mental state of anger applies equally to any intense feeling or mental state. Like begets like, along all the lines mentioned.
Now, all this means that the man who is possessed of a strong mental state will manifest, unconsciously, the physical actions which will affect others, along the lines of mental suggestion — he will not have to study the question of what suggestions to use, providing he “feels” sufficiently strong to automatically manifest the actions.”
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