Evidence & the Placebo Effect

By Miah Godek & Monika Jarbouh
How much of the placebo effect is attributed to subjectivity?  What roles do placebos play in securing valid claims about evidence in biomedicine?  Two undergrads explore the import and epistemological complexities of placebos in this audio essay, created in the context of Philosophy of Science (winter 2017).

Reflections by the episode’s creators:

“I hope the next time you reach for a pill to help you solve a problem that you think about the culture you live in and how powerful suggestions and social constructs can be in influencing the way you think and what you believe to be true”– Monika Jarbouh

“Thank you to Ada Jaarsma, who helped us understand what placebos mean and why this topic is important and interesting.”

Suggestions for further reading:

Aalai, A. (2016). “Revisiting the Placebo Effect,” Psychology Today

Boyles, S. “Antidepressants No Better Than Placebo?”. WebMD.

Feinberg, C. (2013). “The Placebo Phenomenon”. Harvard Magazine.

Gladwell, M. (2005). Blink. Little Brown Back Bay Books. 56-57.


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