Life is one Giant Placebo

April 9, 2008          Comments (3)

MIT researchers say people given placebos reported that the supposedly more expensive pills were also more effective.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that people given identical pills got greater pain relief from the one they were told cost $2.50 than from one supposedly costing 10 cents.

This is nothing new.

Previous studies have shown that price has a powerful impact on the psychology of consumers. Researchers at Caltech reported in January that expensive wine was experienced as being more pleasant-tasting than identical wine that supposedly cost less.

In an earlier experiment, people given inexpensive energy drinks felt more tired and worked out less than those who received identical energy drinks that cost more.

I think everything we do acts as a placebo whether there are experiments and science to back it up or not.

For example:

When I workout, I feel amazing. I’m not going to go into the scientific reasons of why exercise makes us feel so great. But I wonder. Do I feel terrific because I think I’m supposed to feel terrific?

When I eat crappy food, I usually feel sluggish. I know crappy food is considered crappy food for a reason. But I wonder. Do I feel sluggish because I think I’m supposed to feel crappy?

When I sleep 4 hours and I wake up with a headache is that because I know I’m supposed to get 7-8 hours? I always wanted to test this out because I believe this to be true. If I went to sleep at 4AM and woke up at 8AM (but my clock said noon) I bet I’d feel fine.

When I go to a deli and the guy is wearing gloves, I automatically feel better even though I have no idea what he was doing prior to me being there (like taking money).

When I show up to meeting and the person I’m meeting is wearing a suit, I automatically think they are legit.

When, I buy clothes, or sneakers, or food, or anything for that matter, I convince myself of things. I tell myself a story. And that’s what this is all about.

I drank an energy drink before a workout once, and lifted more weight than I have ever lifted. I never drank an energy drink before a workout again because I don’t like to be addicted to things. I just knew I was able to lift that amount of weight and continued to do so from there on out sans anything, like I usually do.

I think it comes down to mind over matter and the stories we tell ourselves. We’re always going to sell ourselves on people, places and things. It’s how we make sense of the world.

People don’t believe what you tell them.
They rarely believe what you show them.
They often believe what their friends tell them.
They always believe what they tell themselves.

Even if the products are IDENTICAL!

Here’s the challenge: How can you make it easier for people to sell themselves on your product?

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  1. Haha love the My Cousin Vinny tie in with the IDENTICAL! Hilarious and very true and thought provoking post.

    -Marky Mark

    Comment by Mark l — April 9, 2008 @ 9:29 am

  2. I do my best, Mark. I do my best.

    Comment by Adam Gilbert — April 9, 2008 @ 10:07 am

  3. […] In reality, the only people who can truly believe in soulmates are those that truly believe they found their soul mates. But can’t that just be your mind convincing yourself that you did? SHARETHIS.addEntry( { title: “Is there really such a thing as soulmates? Really?”, url: “” } ); If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed! […]

    Pingback by Guru Gilbert » Is there really such a thing as soulmates? Really? — June 9, 2008 @ 1:39 pm

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