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Old 31 January 2013, 02:07 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,785

Originally Posted by crescent View Post
However, even if they don't feel less pain, but only think they feel less pain, then they feel "better" than they think they otherwise would.
No, that is an erroneous assumption. People do not, in fact, report what they think accurately in many situations, especially this kind of situation in which they have some feeling about how they think they are expected to respond. (Summing up 60 years of cognitive science: People don't always know what they think.)
They feel relieved - this is only an emotional response, but it is still real, in a way. To me, that has always been my understanding of the placebo effect.
Yes, that is one common understanding that has remained an open question. What we do know is that the more strictly we control for the common errors (such as the reporting error mentioned, which is only one of many) the smaller the nonspecific effects.

I use the word nonspecific because it's a lot like dealing with UFO sightings. Before we consider that a specific set might be extraterrestrial crafts, we have to first eliminate the specific known causes of error. But eliminating all of them still does not mean we've shown ETs are here! What we are left with is an unidentified object, in medical treatment and experiment known as a non-sepcific effect, not necessarily a placebo effect.

I honestly don't want to get snarky, erwins, but it does no one any good when we have non-sequiturs such as: Are you calling all those people who saw these UFOs liars? No, of course not. But I think we can all agree that such questions miss the mark by so far that they shouldn't really deserve any comment.
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