Skeptics generally jump on top of stuff like "The Secret" and lambaste it, but don't have a problem with placebos, which is pretty bad logic. What skeptics should be doing is... well... that's a bit long... Suffice it to say that most "skeptics" are most certainly NOT skeptics.
Not really. People have problems with propaganda. They don't have problems with contextual ads/funny biased political TV or the ever so charismatic message of "Hope and Change" during election years.
I'd like to see information that follows the implications for the placebo effect with respect to "self-help", religion, and spirituality. That would be interesting.
The information is all found in marketing or the oft famous "snake oil salesmen". I don't have any authoritative research articles but the general implication is that people tune out.
People get into religion - people find that religion is wrong - people find another form of belief - people become agnostic but fearful of being punished by God - people become spiritual - people find out that being spiritual is either un-rewarding or overrated - people become atheistic but they sought something to explain miracles - people look for the next modern day authority be that medicine, science or technology
Of course this is over-stereotypical but it's this same stereotype that makes placebos work better or work worse. It's not just belief. It's the source and revelation of certain beliefs combined with the knowledge and the feeling of assurance from having that knowledge.
At the simplest and most broad level, there is observer bias - the fact that you think something will or should happen will make you more likely to either see that thing, or to think something you did see *is* that thing (e.g. UFOs). This is what many skeptics hinge their arguments on and it's very valid in many cases when considering externally observable, real-world phenomena.
Personally I feel word of mouth and argument from authority works better than observer bias.
If you hear about it before you see it - once you see it, you have a lower skeptical barometer unless it's dead/inactive/just a piece of photo.
Contrast this to seeing it before you hear about it - then you're just wondering if your eyes are playing tricks on you until you start believing it.
I think this is an important distinction because without the mystique behind medicine, a medicinal placebo would mostly work less effectively than a magic spell.
Another "placebo effect" is the physician sticking a stethoscope on you can tapping around like it means something. In that vein I guess I'd agree with the video that the placebo is more effective if the gadget is bigger(e.g. MRI machine.)
I think another important distinction that should be made is that not everything can be placebos.
I could be wrong but I certainly haven't heard anything about a miracle stethoscope incident. Same thing with the gadgets. How exactly does one go about inducing a placebo in an MRI machine which is not a masses understood technique compared to a pill or an injection?
I'm a firm believer in the placebo effect and the power of thought. I attended a boarding school situated in a mountainous region. It took seven hours to get to the city by road, three of them through winding mountain roads. The first time I took the trip I was badly carsick. At that age the journey seemed torturous and never ending. I've gotten over the motion sickness but that trip still rates as one of the most agonizing experiences of my life. On subsequent trips, I would start feeling ill the night before the journey. By morning I would be pretty f*****, and that's before the buses had even entered the school premises!
Sorry if this is a joke and I just didn't get it.
That actually sounds more like Anchoring. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchoring
Placebos don't work that way but again I don't even know the barest of placebos.
Anyways I think Placebos aren't that mysterious. They are an interesting research topic but almost all placebos seem to just need the participants to lower their defense mechanism. (but not be lied to)
Level 1 - Pathological
Delusional projection · Denial · Distortion · Extreme projection · Splitting
^ When lowered increases courage and confidence, reduces stress, unlocks self-help "Secrets"
Level 2 - Immature
Acting out · Fantasy · Idealization · Passive aggression · Projection · Projective identification · Somatization
^When lowered means healing, pain reduction, peace of mind.
Note that before you get to level 2, you would have an increased rather than a decrease of these mechanisms so you have to re-lower them.
Note also that reduced fantasy doesn't mean increased reality but can just as mean reduced degree of separation. I.E. going berzerk in real life versus playing as a berserker in an rpg while staying in-character
Level 3 - Neurotic
Displacement · Dissociation · Hypochondriasis · Isolation · Intellectualization · Rationalization (making excuses) · Reaction formation · Regression · Repression · Undoing
Decrease in this means that the person would be willing to keep repeating the induction of the placebo with lesser doubts and thus retaining the effects of the placebo despite prolonged usage. (Also means what it means by opium of the masses - false sanity thanks to group insanity working in a social structure)
Level 4 - Mature
Altruism · Anticipation · Humour · Identification · Introjection · Sublimation · Thought suppression
Decrease in this might not increase "medicinal" placebos but certainly increases sociopathic placebo the likes which allow a normal man to become socio-superior in many cases.
Compartmentalization · Exaggeration · Minimisation · Postponement of affect
Decrease of this means better conformity. The placebo of camaraderie if you may:
Foes working together in a sports team in the name of a metal trophy.
Friends seducing their friends to more brain draining games on Facebook thinking they are not harming them.
Married women thinking they love or should love their husbands and thus becoming a loyal wife through wanting to live a stable life as a mother or a caretaker.
What's especially unique about this other category is that this is the exact opposite of the 1st stage so in many ways this is the skeptics' placebo.
A global clear cut example of this is how the smartest atheists can write about a scientific book debunking religion but they are only up in arms against religion if it's invading their perceived field and they do not respect certain things to "have an effect" despite it being clearly shown that it has.
In technology, this can also be attributed to the large disparity between Apple haters and Apple supporters. Not because there's a placebo happening to the supporters as much as there's a placebo happening to the dissenters in that they often write as if "they don't just get it" why people would want something like an IPad when it has barely little or worse effect on them. After that of course it's fill in the blanks but in that middle stage it's very impenetrable. You could predict it correctly and these people would just re-rationalize it as luck and their confirmation bias would just further fill in the blanks of why they are not wrong or why this is a limited incident or why they only switched because the item improved rather than say peer pressure or initial placebo rejection against those tactics until it wore down on them.
If it sounds confusing (and really I'm not referring to any research I've read but just conjuring my own opinion), those falling into the reduction of these other categories basically have rebellion placebos. Like single issue voters can be smart except for one issue. People would rebel if their internet was taken away from them but would be able to just tune out every other greater crimes. One could even dub it as the soldier placebo. You are able to reject corruption, to have a moral fiber, to have a long tolerance for being lead by a politician but as soon as you are able to outline your thoughts - exaggerate and see the vast implications of your actions - maximize the outcome and feel there's a deadline to the future - your shield placebo breaks down and you become either more human (in the empathic sense) or more animal (in the fight or flight sense)