Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Expensive Placebos Are Better

Science Daily reports that expensive placebos work better than cheap ones:

Half the participants were given a brochure describing the pill as a newly-approved pain-killer which cost $2.50 per dose and half were given a brochure describing it as marked down to 10 cents, without saying why.

In the full-price group, 85 percent of subjects experienced a reduction in pain after taking the placebo. In the low-price group, 61 percent said the pain was less.

That settles it. From now on, I'm only using the most expensive, designer brand placebos. None of those cheap ones for me, only the best.

Also, wine tastes better when it costs more, even when it is the exact same wine:

The subjects consistently reported that the more expensive wines tasted better, even when they were actually identical to cheaper wines. [. . .] When subjects were told they were getting a more expensive wine, they observed more activity in a part of the brain known to be involved in our experience of pleasure.

So here's my plan. When I'm at a restaurant, I'll order a bottle of wine, then ask the waiter, "could you please charge me $10 more for it? I want it to taste a little better than normal."

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