Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Effects and Components of Placebos with a Psychological Treatment Rationale - Three Randomized-Controlled Studies


Gaab, Jens; Kossowsky, Joe; Ehlert, Ulrike; Locher, Cosima (2019). Effects and Components of Placebos with a Psychological Treatment Rationale - Three Randomized-Controlled Studies. Scientific Reports, 9(1):1421.

Abstract

In recent years, placebos have evolved from a mean to control for 'therapeutic chaff' to something that has clinically relevant effects with biological underpinning and that is considered to have clinical as well as scientific potential. However, the wealth of scientific placebo research is conceptualized in a biomedical context, i.e. based on placebos provided with a biomedical treatment rationale, whereas little is known about effects and mechanisms of placebos provided with a psychological treatment rationale. This has important repercussions not only on placebo research, but also on attempts to establish specificity of psychological interventions, such as psychotherapy. Therefore, we set out to assess the effects and possible components of placebos provided with a psychological treatment rationale in three experiments on healthy subjects. We show that placebos provided with a psychological treatment rationale are effective in short- as well as mid-term, but only when provided by a trustworthy, friendly and empathetic experimenter. These findings indicate that placebos are effective outside the medical context and thus need be controlled for in non-medical trials. Furthermore, it highlights and confirms the importance of a plausible psychological treatment rationale in the context of a therapeutic alliance for psychological interventions, such as psychotherapy.

Abstract

In recent years, placebos have evolved from a mean to control for 'therapeutic chaff' to something that has clinically relevant effects with biological underpinning and that is considered to have clinical as well as scientific potential. However, the wealth of scientific placebo research is conceptualized in a biomedical context, i.e. based on placebos provided with a biomedical treatment rationale, whereas little is known about effects and mechanisms of placebos provided with a psychological treatment rationale. This has important repercussions not only on placebo research, but also on attempts to establish specificity of psychological interventions, such as psychotherapy. Therefore, we set out to assess the effects and possible components of placebos provided with a psychological treatment rationale in three experiments on healthy subjects. We show that placebos provided with a psychological treatment rationale are effective in short- as well as mid-term, but only when provided by a trustworthy, friendly and empathetic experimenter. These findings indicate that placebos are effective outside the medical context and thus need be controlled for in non-medical trials. Furthermore, it highlights and confirms the importance of a plausible psychological treatment rationale in the context of a therapeutic alliance for psychological interventions, such as psychotherapy.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
2 citations in Web of Science®
2 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

16 downloads since deposited on 05 Nov 2019
16 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:5 February 2019
Deposited On:05 Nov 2019 12:05
Last Modified:01 Dec 2019 16:25
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-37945-1
PubMed ID:30723231

Download

Gold Open Access

Download PDF  'Effects and Components of Placebos with a Psychological Treatment Rationale - Three Randomized-Controlled Studies'.
Preview
Content: Published Version
Language: English
Filetype: PDF
Size: 948kB
View at publisher
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)