Causal diagrams, the placebo effect, and the expectation effect

Eyal Shahar, Doron J. Shahar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using causal diagrams, a formal research methodology, we analyzed several definitions of placebo and the placebo effect. We conclude that placebo is an ambiguous, redundant term and that the so-called placebo effect conceals far more interesting effects that are attributed to the patient's expectation. Biomedical research will benefit from abandoning the term placebo effect and focusing instead on a deeper understanding of the expectation variable, including its causes, effects, and effect modifiers. This avenue of research should be pursued by observational cohorts that are nested within clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-828
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of General Medicine
Volume6
StatePublished - 2013

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Placebo Effect
Placebos
Biomedical Research
Research Design
Clinical Trials
Research

Keywords

  • Causal diagrams
  • Effect modification
  • Expectation
  • Placebo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Causal diagrams, the placebo effect, and the expectation effect. / Shahar, Eyal; Shahar, Doron J.

In: International Journal of General Medicine, Vol. 6, 2013, p. 821-828.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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