Choice Enhances the Placebo Effect

From a new study led by the University of Toledo’s Jill Brown:

Two experiments investigated the hypothesis that treatment choice enhances placebo treatment efficacy. In Experiment 1, prior to a pain task, participants were given either an expectation that two (inert) products could reduce pain or no expectation. In addition, participants either selected between the two products or were assigned a product to use. Participants given both the placebo expectation and treatment choice reported the lowest pain. Experiment 2 conceptually replicated this finding using a placebo paradigm with aversive auditory stimuli. Additional control conditions indicated that a choice availability (rather than choice restriction) explanation best accounted for these results.

The takeaway? We need more crosswalk buttons!

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