The Placebo Effect Term Paper by Jay Writtings LLC

The Placebo Effect
An exploration of the controversy surrounding the validity of the placebo effect.
# 118163 | 2,033 words | 8 sources | APA | 2009 | US
Published on Jan 08, 2010 in Psychology (Physiological) , Medical and Health (General)

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This paper looks at the theories that believe that the placebo effect can trigger physiological responses in the body that produce positive psychological outcomes which heal the patient permanently. The paper explains the expectancy theory, classical conditioning theory and cognitive theory that all show how the patient is manipulating the results of the treatment, whether consciously or unconsciously. The paper then considers the view of skeptics who argue that there is no evidence that the psychological aspects associated with long-term healing of placebos are efficacious, and there is also little evidence to empirically prove the totality of the mind-body connection. The paper concludes with the opinion that we cannot simply dismiss the idea of the placebo effect; it may be beneficial to patients for the simple fact that it gives the patient sufficient hope to continue treatment.

From the Paper:

"There have also been valid experiments in cognitive theory and expectancy theory. However, none of these hypotheses has enough weight to explain the pervasive belief in the legitimacy of the placebo effect on the common vernacular and belief system. According to skeptics, the placebo effect is invalid for several reasons: first, there is not enough scientific evidence to prove the authenticity of the mind-body connection on the general populace; the studies conducted found no evidence of objective effects; and the myriad variety of other factors affecting the patient's health could also have consequences. For the advocates of the placebo effect, it has definitive, long-term consequences on the patient's mental and physical well-being. New theories of alternative medicine aver that the placebo effect can trigger physiological responses in the body, and can even go so far as to produce positive psychological outcomes which heal the patient permanently."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Beecher, H. K. 1955. "The powerful placebo". Journal of the American Medical Association, 159:1602-1606.
  • Carter, A.B., "The Placebo: Its Use and Abuse", The Lancet, Vol.262, No.6790, (17 October 1953), p.823.
  • Cook IA, Leuchter AF, Morgan ML, Stubbeman W, Siegman B, Abrams M. Changes in prefrontal activity characterize clinical response in SSRI nonresponders: a pilot study. J Psychiatr Res. 2005 Sep; 39(5):461-6
  • Evans, Dylan, 2002. Placebo: The Belief Effect. London: HarperCollins.
  • Geers AL et al. 2005. Goal activation, expectations, and the placebo effect. J Pers Soc Psychol. 89:143-159.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

The Placebo Effect (2010, January 08) Retrieved December 03, 2021, from

MLA Format

"The Placebo Effect" 08 January 2010. Web. 03 December. 2021. <>