Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Headline of the day

More Expensive Placebos Bring More Relief.

In marketing as in medicine, perception can be everything. A higher price can create the impression of higher value, just as a placebo pill can reduce pain.

Now researchers have combined the two effects. A $2.50 placebo, they have found, works better one that costs 10 cents.

This is clearly a far stronger version of price sensitivity of satisfaction / liking that was reported sometime ago; in that research wine was the object of our price-sensitive affection. [Just a couple of days ago, I inked to a some commentary on this research].


  1. Anonymoustache said...

    On similar lines, you may have seen the recent reports on the relative ineffectiveness, in many instances, of SSRIs such as prozac relative to placebos. Here's a link to Jonah Lehrer's commentary on it:
    I am less surprised to see strong placebo effects in areas that are dependent on subjective measurements (does this taste better?; do you feel more pain?; are you in a better mood? etc). We cannot really separate the actual from the imagined, and any overlaps therein; but then again, that may not matter as much to a clinician as it does to a scientist, I guess.
    To me, it is more fascinating if one can see that placebos result in changes in tangible metrics; e.g. the measurable reduction of cholesterol or blood sugar etc.
    Still, it is all pretty interesting stuff, and in coming years will help us figure out the workings of the mind and its impact in physical well-being.