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Can You Psych Yourself Into Running A 4-Minute Mile?


Mike Marsella, center, runs during the ACC Outdoor Championships in Tallahassee this year.
Cheryl Treworgy, PrettySporty/Courtesy of University of Virginia
Mike Marsella, center, runs during the ACC Outdoor Championships in Tallahassee this year.

Mike Marsella was a really competitive guy, a champion cross-country runner in high school. He got a running scholarship to college. Then a car hit him while he was riding a moped. He was left in a coma, with brain damage. And when his mind changed, his running changed, too.

Would he ever be Mike Marsella again? And would he ever run a four-minute mile?

Editors' note: Invisibilia's back! Each Friday NPR's health blog, Shots, will feature an excerpt from the latest episode of the NPR podcast and program, which is broadcast on participating public radio stations.

This week, Alix Spiegel dives into the science of personality, and talks to a convicted sex offender who says he's no longer the person who committed the crime.

We're also creating original features for Shots that explore the Invisibilia theme of the week. This week we examine behavioral therapy programs in prisons, which ask prisoners to reframe how they think about themselves.

And those personality tests you take to get a job, or maybe just for fun? Annie Murphy Paul, author of The Cult of Personality, says they're about as useful as a Tarot card reading. But we still love them.

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