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How Placebo Effects Work to Change Our Biology & Psychology

78 Min
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Andrew Huberman, Ph.D.
In this episode, I discuss placebo and belief and mindset effects — all of which exert a powerful and real influence on our biology and psychology. I discuss how your beliefs and expectation that a certain outcome will occur after taking a substance (or any intervention cause genuine changes in brain and bodily function. I discuss how placebos can change neurotransmitter and hormone release, pain levels, whether the stress response is beneficial or detrimental and more. I also explain how placebo effects can work with traditional drug or behavioral treatments to help improve health outcomes and why some people are more susceptible to placebo effects. By the end of the episode, listeners will understand the placebo effect, how it works, and how beliefs and mindsets can be leveraged toward mental health, physical health, and performance goals. For show notes, including referenced articles and additional resources, please visit Thank you to our sponsors AG1: Eight Sleep: AeroPress: Levels: InsideTracker: Momentous: Timestamps (00:00:00) Placebo Effects (00:02:40) Sponsors: Eight Sleep, AeroPress & Levels (00:07:24) Placebo, Nocebo vs. Belief Effect, Prefrontal Cortex (00:14:03) Dopamine, Placebo & Parkinson’s Disease; Placebo Controls (00:21:36) Hormone Release & Placebo Effect, Paired Associations (00:28:52) Conditioning Effect & Insulin; Pavlovian Response (00:32:50) Sponsor: AG1 (00:34:17) Context & Expectations; Placebo Effect & Brain (00:40:51) Cancer, Mind-Body Practices; Placebo Effects & Limits (00:44:54) Asthma, Specificity & Placebo Effects (00:48:01) Sponsor: InsideTracker (00:49:03) Nicotine & Dose-Dependent Placebo Effects (00:55:31) Placebo Effects vs. Belief Effects, Food & Mindset (01:01:02) Exercise & Belief Effects (01:04:08) Placebo Effect, Brain & Stress Response (01:11:18) Individual Variation, Genetics & Placebo Effect (01:16:11) Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Reviews, YouTube Feedback, Sponsors, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter Disclaimer