$2.50 placebo gives more relief than a 10 cent one [NYT]

Dina Kaplan sent me this article about human nature and how we tend to value higher priced items just because they are higher priced:

More Expensive Placebos Bring More Relief

3 thoughts on “$2.50 placebo gives more relief than a 10 cent one [NYT]

  1. Raza Imam

    This has always puzzled me. As I remember, Robert Cialdini’s classic starts off with a story about someone at a struggling jewelry store mis-read a sign that said “1/2 price” to read that the cost is double; apparently the item sold.
    I can’t figure out the fine line between repelling a cheapskate and activating the placebo effect. Why is it that if Netflix bumps up their subscription price, I start complaining and threaten to cancel but if I hear about how expensive the Mercedes 55 AMG is, I want it even more?
    I know value is relative; if we already value something, we become more attached to it if it’s perceived value is inflated, but how to marketers maintain the balance between cheaply giving us what we want, and creating perceived value that isn’t harmed by a higher price?
    Raza Imam

  2. Patricia Appelquist

    I don’t know.
    “82 men were studied after receiveing electric shock treatment.”
    The AMA must have no reason to find the cure for cancer or HIV if they keep doing these kinds of test to find out whether or not the sheep will buy a $.10 placebo or a $2.50 placebo.
    If someone told me they were going to keep on shocking me if I kept choosing the $.10 placebo I would gladly say I want the $2.50 one to make them stop.
    This study might not have been truly medieval but, when the new catapults are introduced to alleviate traffic congestion I will believe that humanity does retrogression.


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