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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Dawkins

The Nothing That Really Does Cure Anything (almost)

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On a similar note to the previous post regarding homeopathy, here are some interesting resources on the mysterious and wonderful placebo effect.

In 2002, the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute published study results that revealed a surprising difference between the patients receiving a placebo and the patients on the medication being tested.  Of those receiving the actual medication, a little more than fifty percent experienced a reduction in their depression symptoms, while thirty eight percent of the placebo recipients also saw an improvement in their symptoms.  The surprising revelation in the study was the fact that those patients who responded to the placebo experienced improved brain activity in a region of the brain that none of the other patients experienced, whether they were on the medication or placebo.  In fact those on the actual medication experienced diminished activity in that region of the brain.

You can hear a brief report on the study here.

The full text of the study is also available.
Radio Lab did a show on placebos that, as always, was great.  If you listen to only one thing linked to on this post, it should be Radio Lab.

If you are not all placeboed out, then you may enjoy listening to the very interest, uncut interview between Richard Dawkins and Professor of Psychology, Nicholas Humphry, in which placebos are discussed in their conversation about alternative medicine.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Written by Aaron Nee

April 17, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Manipulating the Manipulators

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Derren Brown devises an elaborate demonstration of how subliminal marketing influences even the masters of manipulation.

Embedding is disabled on the clip, so you will have to follow the URL to see it – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyQjr1YL0zg.

Brown performed the same demonstration in his US version of the program.  You can see the slightly modified US demonstration here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f29kF1vZ62o

I previously posted an interesting interview with Brown conducted by Richard Dawkins, which is also worth checking out.