March 24, 2013

ALL IN YOUR MIND:

Placebo Effect Produces Higher Test Scores (Tom Jacobs, 3/24/13, Pacific Standard)

Scientists are increasingly convinced of the power of the placebo effect. Believing that one is receiving treatment when you're not--say, in the form of a pill that supposedly contains a powerful drug that is actually just sugar--can produce surprisingly strong results, at least for some patients, some of the time.

Newly published research suggests a placebo process can produce a similarly positive outcome for test-takers. In short, the belief that you have access to the answers makes it more likely you will get them right.

"People have powerful psychological resources to deal with challenges, but those resources cannot always be used deliberately," German psychologist Ulrich Weger and Australian psychologist Stephen Loughnan write in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. Just as a dummy pill can help people access their ability to tolerate pain, they report, a false conviction can help test-takers relax and improve their performance.

Posted by at March 24, 2013 8:09 PM
  

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