Students’ Beliefs About Placebo Responders: Implications for Fundamentals of Psychology Courses
- Michael E. Oakes
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Scientific sources often warn readers to avoid negative assumptions about those who respond to a placebo, however, no one has addressed the beliefs that lay people hold concerning those who benefit from a placebo. In the current study Fundamentals of Psychology students, who have encountered information about the placebo response in their coursework, evaluated target men and women who had benefited from exposure to a placebo versus a medication on a variety of descriptors (forty-seven in all) that assessed morality, cognitive ability, personality traits, and physical characteristics. The students judged placebo responders (compared to those who benefited from medication) very negatively, for example, placebo responders were considered gullible, overindulgent, lazy, dishonest, deceptive, impulsive, and undisciplined. Female-placebo responders (compared to males) were judged as less intelligent but more emotional. These beliefs contrast with much of the information provided in the scientific literature about the placebo response and suggests that information encountered in coursework may not be addressing or even contributing to an inappropriate negative stigma about placebo responders.
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- Students’ Beliefs About Placebo Responders: Implications for Fundamentals of Psychology Courses
Volume 28, Issue 1 , pp 12-20
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- Michael E. Oakes (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Psychology, University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, 18510, USA