Watch Your Mouth: Rice Experiment Results

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you about the Rice Experiment that a Japanese Scientist did to prove that our words effect our environment.  In three glass bowls I put uncooked rice and added enough water to cover the rice.  Each bowl had a different label.  One said “thank you,” bowl two said “idiot,” and the last bowl said “ignore me.”  For 30 days, the kids and I (Man would not participate in such silliness) were to say something kind to the bowl that said “thank you,” something nasty to the bowl of “idiot” rice and nothing to the bowl we were to ignore. 

We all felt rather silly speaking to something unliving.  I mean, I can get on board with talking to plants because they are alive but bowls of rice…  We also felt silly because saying ugly things, even if just to rice, made us feel bad.  It was hard to say things like “stupid” or “you’re ugly” or “no one likes you” because we don’t say those hurtful things in our home.  Not accurate.  We don’t say those things to each other in our home but I know I’m guilty of saying those things to myself. 

Caren and her family did the experiment as well and we both had the same results:

About four days into the experiment nothing really looked different but the Bad Rice was starting to stink.  The Ignored Rice and the Happy Rice both just smelled like rice.  On the morning of day 6, Buddy yelped after smelling the bowls of rice.

“Mom!  Oh my gosh!  You have GOT to smell the Bad Rice,” he yelled to me from the kitchen.

“That bad, huh?”

“I almost threw up.  I’m not joking.  My bagel came up a little bit.”

Bug took a turn smelling the rice and when he smelled the Bad Rice he backed away coughing and his eyes were watering.

“Oh man!  That is HORRIBLE!”  he cried between gags.

“Ugh.  Do I have to smell it?”  I asked.

“YES!” they declared.  If you are to be a scientist you must do these sorts of things so I tentatively brought my nose close to the bowl and swept my hand across the top of the bowl to waft the smell toward me.  (That’s how they taught us to do it in science class when I was in school.  I didn’t want to risk a chemical burn or something.)  The boys were right.  The rice smelled really awful! 

Happy Rice still just smelled like rice and the Ignored Rice was stinky too but just slightly.  We began to tell the Bad Rice that it was stupid and smelly.  One really bad morning I really laid into the Bad Rice.  I was so aggravated and mad and I got as close to the Bad Rice as I could without smelling it.

“You are worthless!  Get your sh** together!” I hissed and then I unloaded a string of expletives.  I didn’t feel as silly this time.  It felt good to have a place to send my anger and frustration.  Poor Bad Rice. 

We also noticed a change in the color of the water in the bowls.  Happy Rice was milky and cloudy.  Bad Rice was a bright, sulfur yellow.  The Ignored Rice had a hint of yellow as well. 

Just over a week into the project, I decided to call it quits.  Even Happy Rice was starting to get a little funky.  Still milky water and still smelled like rice but you could just walk by it and catch the odor.


milky white water, slight smell and a hint of mold starting.

milky white water, slight smell and a hint of mold starting.

sulfur yellow, mold, horribly smelly!

sulfur yellow, mold, horribly smelly!

some yellow, moldiest and a smell...

some yellow, moldiest and a smell…

“Boys, I’ve gotta throw the rice away.  I can’t stand the smell anymore.  I think the point was made though, right?  Can you see how, in just a weeks time, our words made a difference in the rice?”

They both agreed.  The thought is that the water is really the vessel that carried the words.  We are made up of 70%? water and so that’s why ugly words effect us.  (According to the Japanese scientist who did the experiment.)

The results were exactly the same at Caren’s house.  Stinky Bad Rice and yellowing water. 

We’ve always known that our words carry weight.  I sighted various scriptures and other wise proverbs that warn us of this.  The experiment was so great though for our children to see those “sayings” in action.  Proof positive that words can be weapons of destruction. 

“We have control over what we say to other people and we are responsible for the hurt they may cause,” I told the boys.  “Unfortunately, we have no control over what people say to US but we do have control over whether we let it effect us or not.  We have to use positive self talk to deflect others ugly words.  You have to remember the truth and that is that we are much adored and loved by God.  He made you special so don’t ever believe otherwise.  If there’s something that you’re told you can’t do, you KNOW that the Bible says you can do anything through Christ Jesus who strengthens you, so those negative words are not true!”

This brought up another conversation.  The Bible does not say that you can do anything because Jesus will just magically give you ability or that He will do it for you.  It says He will strengthen you.  That means YOU have to do the work.  I do not have a natural ability to dance.  I just don’t and that’s OK.  However, I really want to dance.  I love music!  I love to sing it, play it and I want to move beautifully to it!  Plus, I love theater and my lack of dance ability hinders me in that arena. 

“Mommy is…not doing so great in her dance class but if I don’t work on it, I’ll never get good at it.  I can’t go into a dance audition and breathe a prayer and then expect myself to be able to dance.  I can’t shake my fist to the heavens after and say, ‘Your word says I can do anything through You!  Where were You?!’  God requires us to do our part.  So I’m working to overcome my fear and the many years of negative talk from other people, including myself.  I don’t ever expect to be great at it but I will be able to dance. In our house we will not talk ugly to each other but we will also not allow others words to control us.  Capice?”


So there you have it!  Scientific proof that your words effect your environment.  Speak kindly to each other.  Speak encouragement to each other.  Speak TRUTH to each other. 

Next experiment:  The 20 Second Hug.



About buddyandbug

Man and I moved from Texas to Colorado with Buddy and Bug. This blog is a chronicle of our adventures as we deal with homesickness and adjust to Mountain Living. “If you are a dreamer,come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer. If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!” ~ Shel Silverstein
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One Response to Watch Your Mouth: Rice Experiment Results

  1. Kelli says:

    Intriguing. Food for thought. On several levels. Thanks again for the brain food. Keep em coming!

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