The placebo effect may not be able to actually cure health problems like cancer or infectious disease, but it sure can make a person think they are doing better. It’s actually quite surprising how compelling the effect can be, especially when the subject strongly believes that they have received a substance that will causes a perceptible physiological effect.
Of course, people also don’t like to be “outed” as having fallen for the effect. While there’s really no shame in it (it happens to the best of us), it’s still not hard to see how it could be pretty embarrassing, especially when it involves something like being drunk.
Yes, that’s right, and it’s also why I would not recommend trying this experiment at home – because it will get those involved pretty angry when and if they find out the ruse. People will display signs of drunkenness when they drink large amounts of non-alcoholic beer, believing it’s the standard stuff. It’s not even limited to just acting funny. Yes, people do, in fact, trip around, slur their speech and on occasion, even fall and hurt themselves. While non-alcoholic beer may contain some small amount of alcohol, it is generally not enough to cause intoxication and certainly not what you’ll see here.
It’s really a fascinating psychological effect. Of course, not everyone will be effected the same way. The placebo effect is not always reliable so you might end up with some confused individuals saying they never realized they had such a high tolerance because they don’t feel anything. That is the exception, however, and not the rule.
I really wonder, is there a higher incidence of automobile accidents in those who think they’re drunk? It wouldn’t surprise me if it were slightly elevated.
Of course, the placebo effect combined with the fact that most people don’t appreciate how compelling it can be is a big factor in the proliferation of quackery. Perhaps this kind of demonstration is worthwhile, even if it will cause a lot of people to feel pretty silly afterward.
Besides, I know some people who drink a little bit and then say or do things that they know they shouldn’t, even despite the fact that they still have enough sense to know better. The reason is simply that since everyone is drinking they can use that as an excuse. Sure they might have only had two drinks, but the next day said person might say something like “Oh I’m sooo sorry I grabbed your ass like that last night, but I was like.. totally wasted.”
Of course, I’d never do anything like that.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 4th, 2009 at 12:10 am and is filed under Bad Science, Conspiracy Theories, Good Science, media, Misc, Quackery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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