This Is Your Brain On Placebo

What happens when we believe something that isn’t so?

In some cases, what we believe can take precedence over the “truth.” The most famous example of this is the placebo effect — the way pain tends to vanish when we *think* we’re taking pain medication, even if the medication itself is useless (a sugar pill).

According to the article, there are a few wrinkles:

– Social context is key. Even subtle cues (like the color of the pill) improve the effect

– Seeing someone else get the benefit can be as effective as taking the pill yourself

– If you take a *real* medication for a while and your doctor replaces it (without telling you) with a placebo pill, you often keep enjoying the effect of the medication

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