• Log In
  • Sign Up
    • A couple thoughts here on the nature of identity. I could be missing something(s).

      Although it is hyperbolic to say; "People are amazing. We can cut our fingers and bleed playing too forcefully on the High E string of an air guitar" there appears to be something to the notion that we play a significant role in shaping our experiences through our expectations, and these expectations appear to be rooted in the echoes of events etched with various depths on to what we perceive as identity. We have a sort of experiential reverberation mechanism built on the nested array of influences that we carry from our past into our present. Perhaps a recognition of this process can help us get an oar in the water that might help us steer, at least somewhat, on the experiential currents on which we ride.

      Any current perspective, meaning the things that are happening now, we use as a kernel on which we build an experience (a perception) of the current event that is, at least in part, driven by our expectations, such as the taking of a placebo and having a real symptom not connected to the current event as a result. In other words, the placebo can be a echo of our past - a real experience built on expectations. Our exposure to variables seems to be a canvas on which we paint our already pregnant expectations, which can transform whatever happens into what we expected to happen.
      Everything from PTSD sufferers reliving the trauma by way of hair triggered reflexes painted on to events that do not call for them, to our tendency to find people we just met "warm" if we happen to be handed us a warm drink when we met them, or cold if we were handed us a cold drink as we me them and so on.  (Solomon Asch "Forming impressions of personality." or behavioral priming research such as outlined here:

      Here is an article on placebos that illustrates the social phenomena.

    • That study on AEs with placebo was interesting! We know a lot about subconsciously influencing people, or “priming,” when it comes to marketing but I wonder how that does/should apply to study design for medication

      I remember being bothered when I read Blink! By Malcolm Gladwell. I want to believe that what I think, feel and do... who I am is a product of my conscious decisions. But it turns out so much is subconscious based on our past experiences and expectations. This is a pretty good summary of the parts that bothered me most:

      Surely the speed I walk down the hall or how many trivia questions I get right couldn’t be manipulated that easily! I’m an independent thinker. I even consider myself to be fairly disagreeable when it comes to a desire to fit in. But the data is pretty damning.

    • Another pivotal study. Thanks for sharing. I am guessing there is a cultural aspect to the impact of priming as well, perhaps an interrelated set of nested influences that make certain perceptions more or less likely. Different cultures respond differently to different colors. For instance, the blue pills mentioned in connection with being a more effective sedative is not true in Italy. (I am not sure why, some surmise it is the sports logo colors the culture is primed with) This article is a pretty interesting superficial look at colors and placebos. I do think the broader topic of the science of influence is fascinating. Thanks again for sharing.