Australian science reporter Professor Funk has made a fantastic animated video about the science of the placebo effect that’s three minutes of sheer joy even without an active ingredient.
It takes you through the remarkable ways in which the placebo effect differs between different types of pills, perceptions and places and is highly recommended.
Link to ‘The Strange Powers of the Placebo Effect’ on YouTube.
8 thoughts on “A strangely effective video”
I didn’t like it. The music was, of course, terrible, but it wasn’t the dealbreaker: implying that taking placebos and not dying is a causal effect was. It should definitely be ruled out that both do not have the same cause (such as general lack of discipline, feeling nauseated etc.).
Really want to start a business marketing “Placebex” and “Panaceatol” etc.
I seem to recall a study a few years back which showed that the placebo effect was largely mythical. Can’t remember the methodology, but it might be worth a post.
Here’s a link to the debunking study:
Apparently you need to compare not just the people who got a placebo with those who got a real drug with demonstrated effect, but also with those who got no treatment at all. And it needs to be done outside a clinical setting — not sure how you do that.
I really liked it. I like the idea of comparing with those that don’t take anything. I have always wanted to get some sugar pills and if a friend gets a pounding headache tell them I have found some really effective painkillers. But then it wouldn’t have the brand-name imapact.