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

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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