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Placebo TalksModern perspectives on placebos in society$
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Amir Raz and Cory Harris

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199680702

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199680702.001.0001

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Looking at placebos through a cultural lens and finding meaning

Looking at placebos through a cultural lens and finding meaning

Chapter:
(p.99) Chapter 7 Looking at placebos through a cultural lens and finding meaning
Source:
Placebo Talks
Author(s):

Daniel E. Moerman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199680702.003.0007

This chapter argues that the “placebo effect” does not exist; placebos do, but they are inert and therefore do not have an effect. Yet often enough, people do respond after placebo administration. Among various causes for such change, the chapter looks to the social sciences and attributes many effects to the meanings that placebos convey to participants in the medical event—the doctors, nurses, patients, family, community, and so on, of the patient. Applying the term “meaning responses,” the chapter surveys some of the ways they occur, with or without the presence of placebos. After describing some recent studies that dramatically complicate the interpretation of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and our perhaps overly simplistic understanding of the nature of medical efficacy, the chapter considers, at least metaphorically, mind–body interactions to be the “mind/body problem.”

Keywords:   placebos, placebo effect, meaning responses, medical efficacy, mind–body interactions, social sciences

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