Introduction to the Interactive Placebo Project

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Welcome to the Interactive Placebo Project.

Can we beat a placebo?

Music, movies, tv shows, and video clips can change our moods. When our friends make us laugh, or make us cry, our mood is affected. While a positive mindset probably won't cure someone of cancer, it might help improve a person's health.

When someone has a new idea for a medical treatment, it's often compared to a neutral treatment that shouldn't have any effect, which the placebo is one of the most common. When a new pill is designed to treat a medical condition, it's often compared to a pill that's intended to do nothing, the placebo pill.

A placebo is not required to be a pill. A cancer treatment might be compared to a saline drip or a shot with no active medicine. A surgery might be performed. But recently, placebos are showing to have a medical effect more often. In some cases, placebos even have a negative effect (termed a nocebo effect).

If someone watches video clips a few times a day that makes them laugh, could that help them recover from an illness sooner than someone not laughing from a neutral treatment?

We're looking to encourage people to develop cross-platform applications (primarily web or native apps) to help people, and testing those apps against placebos to improve their effectiveness.

Top Topics

Learn some basic project terms like placebo, nocebo, confounding variables, and control groups.

Can a color affect how well a pill works? In a study, yes. Could a pill of your favorite color work even better?

Book Recommendations

I will periodically make recommendations from books I've read that I believe would be helpful to readers. I'm paid a commission for sales that come from these recommendations.

Ignorance: How It Drives Science

When we're trying out new ideas in science, not knowing exactly the outcome shouldn't stop us from trying!

Quick Overview of Placebo-related Terms

Foundational Concepts for Interactive Placebos

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