Ok this may not be an experiment to repeat, however it is an interesting one to note.
This is a story about a fish. It’s not an exaggerated “fish tale.” It’s a true story about a fish that was living in a large tank in New England. This fish was inside the tank because he was being studied by scientists. He was perfectly content. All his needs were being met. At feeding time the scientists would drop some minnows down into his tank. The fish would happily gobble them up. It was a good life.
One day the scientists changed their routine. Instead of dropping the minnows freely into the tank, they placed the small fish inside of a glass tube. The tube was designed so that water could flow freely through it. The large fish swimming in the tank could easily see the tiny fish inside the tube. As the big fish grew hungry he began to try to get to the small fish inside the tube. This was his meal! He pushed the tube against the side of his tank. Of course, the hungrier he became the harder he tried. He knocked that tube with his tail and then with his whole body. Harder and harder he swatted at that tube as his hunger became overwhelming. But eventually the fish learned that he could not get to the minnows, no matter how hard he tried he simply couldn’t open the tube. So he gave up.
After watching the big fish for a while longer, the scientists changed their plan again. They pulled the tube full of small minnows up out of the tank and then dumped them freely right into the large tank alongside the big fish. The poor minnows! Can you imagine what happened next? (Pause to let them think about how fast the big fish would eat those minnows.) The large fish starved to death. (Disbelief fills the room.) With minnows swimming freely all around him, he starved to death.
Why? How could that possibly happen? The answer isn’t obvious, but it is simple. He no longer believed he could eat the fish. Once he stopped believing he could eat the fish, he no longer tried.
The above experiment was carried out in New England, USA and really helps demonstrate the importance and indeed the power of the mind and belief in achieving anything, as Henry Ford said “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”
30 Nov 2012
Just to add to this post I have found another angle of this story from a very strong source:
Fish in aquariums will make a commitment in their mind to stay in one area of a fish tank and not venture into another area. People who work with fish in aquariums can insert a transparent glass partition in the middle of the tank to separate one group of fish from another. When the glass partition is removed most of the fish will swim only on the one side. They have made a commitment in their mind that that is as far as they can go.
Source: Deepak Chopra The New Physics of Healing