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The Placebo Effect

By Logan Wright

In drug testing, a control group is necessary so that the results in the experimental group can be compared against something. Both groups are ideally identical aside from the experimental variable. The experimental group receives the drug, whereas the control group receives a placebo.

The placebo is a pill or medication that appears to be the drug, but does not actually contain any active ingredients and thus has no effect on the user. Thus, both groups believe they are taking the drug and both groups expect to experience the effects.

The trouble is, the placebo groups frequently do experience the drug’s effects, sometimes as much as those taking the active drug! This baffling phenomenon, known as the placebo effect, is not limited to drug trials, however. Most people experience the placebo effect in various ways everyday.

How our own psychological outlook can affect health is still mostly unknown, but you can be sure there are some great brains beavering over it right at this very moment.

More information: Placebo effect: harnessing your mind's power to heal

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20 Jul 2011
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