We were all taught early on to say please and thank you for a good reason.  It makes others around us feel appreciated which in turn benefits us by making us more likeable.  But does it go deeper than that?  Could it be that our intentions actually work on some other level we are not yet aware of?  Can we physically or chemically affect things other than people with our intentions alone? 

In a quest to find out, I decided to probe the field of intention research and came across a very easy-to-replicate study involving rice by Dr. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese author and entrepreneur who is well known for his claims that human consciousness has the ability to change the molecular structure of water.  While much of his work does not stand up to the rigors of widely accepted experimental design and has been ruled out at the moment as pseudoscience by most reputable scientists, I still find his rice experiment alluring, and, in my humble opinion, worth more investigation.  It's very easy to do and anyone can do it.  

Here's the materials I used:

  • 3 identical plastic jars (all cleaned simultaneously in the same cycle of a dishwasher prior to use)
  • Minute Made instant rice (all samples were used  from the same box of rice)
  • a clean pot to boil all samples of rice simultaneously
  • a clean measuring cup (same one used for all samples)
  • tap water from the kitchen sink
  • ziplock bags

Here's how I set up the experiment:

  1. cooked the rice as per the instructions on the box
  2. measured 1 cup of rice and poured it into each of the 3 jars
  3. measured 1 cup of tap water and poured it into each of the 3 jars
  4. labeled one of the jars "Thank You"
  5. labeled one of the jars "You're a Fool"
  6. stuck a label on one of the jars but did not write anything on it so it could be used as a control
  7. placed ziplock bags over the tops of each jar (mainly to suppress foul stenches)
  8. then placed the jars side by side in a bedroom that didn't get used so there would be no interference from cats, dogs, kids, etc.

This is what they looked like on day 1 (and please excuse the messy bedroom).

rice pic rice pic

Here's how I performed the experiment:

  • Every day for 31 days in a row, I would enter the bedroom with the containers of rice and say "Thank You" to the thank you jar, "You're a Fool" to the fool jar, and leave the control jar completely alone.  Ignore the fourth jar you see in the picture as that was being used for a different experiment.
  • I did this twice a day, once in the morning and once at night

It was just that simple.  In fact, the hardest part about this experiment was staying consistent with remembering to tend to the jars twice a day for an entire month, but I did it!  

Here were the results.

First, here was the jar that was told "Thank You" twice a day after 31 days.


 Now, here was the jar that was told "You're a Fool" twice a day after 31 days.


 And, lastly, here was the control jar that was completely left alone for 31 days.


The Conclusion?

As you can see, the results speak for themselves.  Not a speck of visible mold was found on the thank you jar while the fool jar was absolutely infested.  The thank you rice did have microbial growth in it as I could smell a strong sweet aroma coming from it.  It was definitely a more tolerable aroma than the ones coming from the fool and control jars.  

What's interesting about this experiment is that is has been replicated by many people.  Just type in "rice experiment" on youtube and you will see plenty of others performing their own versions of this experiment with similar results to what you see here.  I must admit.  My knee jerk reaction to the results of this experiment is that there really is something to our intention that does interact with either the water, the rice, fungus, bacteria, or all of the above.  

However, there are some people attempting to debunk the notion that this experiment holds any value whatsoever.  Obviously, this experiment would need to be repeated multiple times within the same experimental conditions to make sure the same results are acquired every time for it to gain authority.  The quality of experimental conditions from many of the youtube videos I've seen trying this experiment has not exactly been solid science.  Despite a lacking of good quality rice experiments and from what I have discerned from internet searches, none of the rebuttals to this experiment have actually shot it down with solid evidence.  Adversaries of the intention theory have focused mainly on counter "theories" of why our intention wasn't the reason for the differences in the jars.  We have to remember, though, that making a deduction that our intention does effect the rice is a theory as well and can not be 100% proven.  What it is for sure is that the results above do present one heck of a correlation.      

If we entertain the notion that intention was what was responsible for these results, then what might have been interacting with our intention to have produced these results?  Was it the microbes, the water, or the rice?  It could be absolute coincidence that microbial formation randomly occurred in the jars the way it did regardless of my intention, but I find that highly unlikely given the dramatic differences between the jars after 31 days and the fact that so many other people that have performed the experiment across the internet have achieved similar results.  

On a note of interest, I attempted this same experimental setup with apple juice to see if it would get similar results and it did not.  While the thank you juice took several days longer to build up mold than the fool juice, it ultimately did build up visible mold prior to the conclusion of the experiment ending at 31 days.

If you feel so inclined to try this rice experiment yourself, I encourage you to do so.  For me, it took getting past the realization that I was going to be dedicating some of my time talking to rice, but I'm glad I did get past it because it was worth it to see these results.  Plus, as I mentioned before there is a lack of good quality rice experiments floating around.  Share your results, too, so we can get closer to finding out what is really happening with this phenomenon. 

Leave a comment below if you would like to share your thoughts about this experiment.  The more angles this experiment can be approached from, whether to prove or disprove it, the better.  It's an interesting subject that deserves more attention and true scientific intervention.