The placebo and nocebo effect.

The placebo effect is a somewhat well known phenomenon. Imagine you take a group of people with a headache, you give them a mint pill but you tell them that it was an aspirin with mint flavour. What would happen? A few people will start feeling better; some may even stop having their headache. That is, even if they do not really take a pain killer, somehow, the fact that they think they are taking it actually changes the way they feel: they feel better. This is the placebo effect.

The nocebo effect is its evil twin and produces the opposite results. If you take a group of people that feel fine, and you give them a mint pill and tell them that it is going to give them nausea and a headache, there will be some people that will actually start feeling ill. Studies on the placebo and nocebo effect suggest that perception is not merely a result of external stimuli, but it is not yet clear how exactly our beliefs or expectations alter our perceptions. So thinking good thoughts and outcomes make you feel better!

Published by The Sage Page


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