The Placebo Effect

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Before in my "I'm back!" blog entry, I lightly touched on the topic of the placebo effect. Well now for a lesson based around the placebo effect. Let's review.

The Placebo Effect is most famous for its role in medicine. In the context of medicine, the placebo effect is the effect of expectation. In many tests that test the effectiveness of medication, one of the control groups get a sugar pill. The sugar pill is medically useless, however, some people who took the sugar pill feel better with their ailment. Be it a cold or fever, pain, stuff like that, some people who took the sugar pill get the same effect as if they took medication.

How effective is the placebo effect? Well according to Faith Brynie Ph.D on, the healing powers of the placebo effect range from as low as 15% to as high as 72%. For the remedy being nothing but false medication, that is extremely powerful. The people might as well have done nothing.

Why/How does the placebo effect work? There are several explanations for this, phenomenon. One explanation is called the "subject-expectancy effect". It's basically when the patient expects a certain outcome from the medicine, and so they might unconsciously change their reaction to get that effect, or at the very least, change what they report. Another explanation is that the people who experience the placebo effect are "classically conditioned" to expect relief after taking the sugar pill or saline injection. Do you know Dr. Pavlov and his dog? Well in case you haven't heard about it, I'll tell you in the spoiler below.

Dr. Ivan Pavlov, a Russian scientist, did these famous tests with dogs. Originally doing it to test salivary glands in dogs, Pavlov rang a bell before present the food to his dogs. However he noticed something interesting was happening. The more tests he did, he noticed that the dogs salivated even when just the bell rang and no food was present. Just the sound of the bell caused the dogs to salivate.

So, now you know about Dr. Pavlov's famous test, now let's continue. In the "classically conditioned" explanation, it's said that the stimulus in this case is the sugar pill/saline injection, and the reaction is feeling better. Now the difference between both of these is that the "subject expectancy effect" is subjective because it's only on what the patient reports.

Now for my input. Remember I have not done any tests to 100% confirm this, this is only an alternate explanation. I stick to the "Ignorance is Bliss" concept of the healing powers of the placebo effect. Because the person doesn't know what they're taking or what they're doing and they just go with what they've been told, they expect that reaction, and so they get it.

So, let's review:
The Placebo Effect is a psychological phenomenon that heals people who took something that they think is helping them, but is medically useless. There are several explanations as to why this happens, but the effect is still mysterious to psychologists and other scientists alike.

Thanks for reading and as always, don't forget to be awesome.


  1. I Created Blazing Pwnage's Avatar
    Ahh the Placebo effect. Ive always been fascinated by it, I don't know why. But I just was.
  2. ureliaiesen's Avatar
    Here are the details about every medicine that is useful nowadays and spreading more awareness. According to a new option, an essay service is present here that is helping the students from the various ways.