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Placebo effect: why not more of it?

Senia writes a great article on How You Tell the Story of Your Life in Positive Psychology News Daily. As part of the story, she mentions a very fun study on the power of the Placebo effect.

From Senia’s post:

Hotel WorkerIn the February, 2007 issue of Psychological Science, Langer and colleague Alia Crum reported that they took 84 hotel workers and told one group that “the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle. Examples of how their work was exercise were provided. Langer and Crum told the control group nothing. Four weeks later, Langer and Crum returned to find some measurements of both groups: the control group hadn’t changed physically, but the test group had decreased all of the following: weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index.

Langer and Crum describe this study as supporting the theory that exercise affects health at least partly due to the placebo effect. Furthermore, we can ask, what are the stories that these hotel workers are telling themselves? Why do the hotel workers suddenly believe that they actively affect their exercise regiment?”

Implication: the placebo effect is real, and it can help our health.

A few fun questions to consider:

– How do we prevent other people from selling us stuff that only works based on the placebo effect?

– Once we decide to do something, shouldn’t we try to “placebo” ourselves in order to get the most of it? this is another manifestation of the importance of emotional self-regulation.

Enjoy the long weekend

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