Placebo pp 17-35 | Cite as

Placebo, Nocebo, and Learning Mechanisms

  • Luana CollocaEmail author
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 225)


Recent substantial laboratory and theoretical research hints for different learning mechanisms regulating the formation of placebo and nocebo responses. Moreover, psychological and biological variants may play a role as modulators of learning mechanisms underlying placebo and nocebo responses. In this chapter, we present pioneering and recent human and nonhuman research that has impressively increased our knowledge of learning mechanisms in the context of placebo and nocebo effects across different physiological processes and pathological conditions.


Conditioning Expectation Verbal suggestion Observational learning Drug-mimic effects Vicarious hypoalgesia 



This research is supported by the Intramural Research Program of the Clinical Center, NIH, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Conflict of Interest There are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH)BethesdaUSA
  2. 2.National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), National Institutes of Health (NIH)BethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Department of BioethicsClinical Center, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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