Placebo Brownies

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For those of you who have seen the movie Eurotrip, I bet you know exactly which clip I'm about to show. But first I should explain how I am connecting to this to psychology. We read about the "placebo effect" in our textbooks in chapter 2. The textbook states, "The placebo effect is improvement resulting from the mere expectation of improvement." Personally I think this definition can be modified to include any change noticed or felt simply due to the expectation that a change will occur. If someone is handed a pill that supposedly cures nausea, but are told that pill may cause them to be dizzy and lightheaded, that person may take it and report that they feel dizzy and lightheaded, even if they just took a placebo pill.
A placebo is commonly used to test drug efficacy when a new drug is developed. Most of these studies are "double-blind" meaning there is a control group that receives a placebo, an experimental group that receives the actual drug, and neither the participants nor the researcher knows which group is which.
In the case of the video I chose there is no actual research being done, but the two main people are a perfect example of the placebo effect. I suggest watching the video before I explain.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdhSChKX2zI
For those of you who have never seen Eurotrip, in this scene, the two characters shown are twin brother and sister and they are in Amsterdam at a bakery eating brownies. Clearly they think that since they are in Amsterdam, the brownies that they are eating have marijuana in them. They thought they were feeling under the influence until the baker told them they were just regular brownies. Basically, since they expected the brownies had marijuana in them they acted the way they thought marijuana would influence them. To me, this is a very clear example of the placebo effect.

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This page contains a single entry by olsso022 published on October 2, 2011 1:51 PM.

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