The Psychology and Outcomes of “Manifesting”

It builds confidence but real-world outcomes usually aren’t better, and may be worse...

Grant H Brenner MD DFAPA
6 min readAug 6, 2023

The word “manifest” means “readily perceived by the senses, especially the sense of sight” and “easily understood by the mind”, aka “obvious”. The practice of manifesting, on the other hand, implies a magical summoning of great success through the power of determined faith in oneself, through communion with powerful forces that materialize desired realities if one places oneself in the right frame of mind.

Manifesting, according to researchers Dixon, Hornsey and Hartley in their paper in Personality and Social Science Bulletin (2023), is a practice gaining momentum among Americans, introduced by personalities like Norman Vincent Peale in his 1952 The Power of Positive Thinking and more recently by an array of big-name celebs and, increasingly, social media influencers. Think Oprah Winfrey and Tony Robbins.

Study authors report that Americans are more focused now than ever before on success, while noting that exactly how to succeed remains quite elusive in a society where few achieve the wealth, fame, and power depicted in the media and promised in the American dream and in many religious traditions. The personal-development industry has blossomed in such ripe conditions…

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Grant H Brenner MD DFAPA

Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, Entrepreneur, Writer, Speaker, Disaster Responder, Advocate, Photographer