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The Placebo Effect

What you will get:Reflections on the irrational side off humans and the placebo effect.


You are irrational!


Plain and simple. We humans are not logical creatures.


And what’s more…


Our irrationality is predictable!


In his famous book, “Predictably Irrational”, Dan Ariely proves this by revealing how many of our perceived “placebo” experiences are made by the subconscious part of our brain.


Let’s look at some examples.


Ever bought a painkiller?


Studies show that premium price brands consistently outperform budget brands in their users’ reported benefits on reducing pain.


Even though…


The budget brands contain exactly the same chemical ingredients!


Another study…


…measured reported energy levels on participants who were told they were being given a scientifically-valid energy drink which had more than 50 independent studies proving that it increased energy. This of course was also a premium price product.


Another group were given a budget energy drink, and were not told of any scientific studies validating the drink’s effectiveness.


And of course…


Virtually all the people given the premium drink reported improved energy afterwards.
Most of the budget drink team said it made little or no difference to their energy.


Guess what?


Both drinks had identical ingredients.
And what’s more, none of those ingredients had any ingredients known to boost energy!


Our old fried The Placebo Effect in action again.


And now…


For a truly remarkable example – J.B. Moseley’s arthritic knee surgery experiment.


2 groups of patients – all of whom were told they were getting the same surgery to remove the pain caused by arthritis in their knees.


But what did they actually get?


Group 1 – The standard treatment as they were told. Anesthetic. 3 incisions in the knee. Scope inserted. Cartilage removed. Correction of tissue problems. 10 litres of saline washed through the knee.


Group 2 – The placebo group. They just got an incision and it was then it was sewn up. So there was absolutely no medical procedure at all!


The outcomes?


For 2 years following the surgery, the 2 groups were regularly tested for how improved their pain in the knee was.


Both groups reported the same benefits!


That’s right…


The placebo group, who had had absolutely no knee surgery at all, all reported marked improvements in their knee pain – just as much as the group who had actually had surgery!


And by the way…


Private patients in America spend approximately $1 Billion a year on this knee operation!


So, not only is the Placebo Effect real…


…but it also has a huge influence on the way we humans spend our money.


I’m off to think carefully about how I spend my money on so-called premium brands and remember just how powerful my subconscious mind is.


How about you?


To your fulfilment.





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Steve Neale
“Creator of the Limbic Performance System for Outstanding Leadership”


Psychologist, Executive Coach, EI Practitioner, Award Winning Trainer, International Author, Psychodynamic Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Mindfulness Instructor, International Speaker, Creator of the LPS, Creator of the Accredited Masters in High Performance Leadership

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