So much has been written and said about the power of positive thinking that an ordinary person could even develop a strong allergy to the very notion of “thinking positive”. Therefore, in this article, I will talk about negative thinking and the consequences of it, fatal sometimes – one of these phenomena is called the “Baskerville Effect”.

What Is The Baskerville Effect?

The Baskerville effect is a fatal scare phenomenon. It was named after Conan Doyle’s story “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, in which Sir Charles Baskerville dies of a heart attack provoked by psychological stress. Dr. David Phillips, an American sociologist, believes that a person can really be scared to death. According to Phillips, there is a connection between severe psychological stress and the following heart attack (often fatal). 

Numerous laboratory studies have shown that stress is indeed followed by cardiovascular changes, but in the course of studies patients are still not scared to death, and based on moderate stress it is impossible to determine whether a strong shock can cause a fatal heart attack. 

However, Dr. Phillips found a vivid stress factor associated with Eastern superstitions. The fact is that in the Cantonese dialect of Chinese and Japanese the words “death” and “four” sound almost the same. As a result, the number “4” causes unpleasant sensations and gloomy feelings in many Chinese and Japanese. 

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Dr. Phillips found that Americans of Chinese and Japanese origin have the peak of heart disease deaths in the fourth month of the year, which is not observed among Americans of European origin. After analyzing death certificates for more than 200,000 Chinese and Japanese Americans and 47 million white Americans, Dr. Phillips confirmed that Chinese and Japanese Americans have 13% more deaths from heart disease in the fourth month. And in California, where the Chinese and Japanese populations are concentrated, 27% more deaths from heart disease occur in the fourth month. He concluded that research suggests a connection between psychological stress and heart attacks.


Our behavior and the quality of our actions largely depend on the quality of our thoughts. Our moods and reactions depend on our thoughts. Positive thinking is not a character trait, it’s a choice. It can be easily developed; the main thing is to want it. At first, you will need to be persistent and zealous, but then everything will go “in the right direction”.