Self-focused attention and the placebo effect: Fooling some of the people some of the time

Frederick X. Gibbons, Charles S. Carver, Michael F. Scheier, Stefan E. Hormuth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations


An experiment tested the hypothesis that mirror-induced self-awareness would minimize a "placebo" effect. Some subjects were led to believe that a drug that they were about to ingest would produce arousal symptoms as a side effect. Self-aware subjects in this condition subsequently reported experiencing less arousal from the placebo, and fewer of the side effects ascribed to it, than did less self-aware subjects. Discussion centered on the implications of these findings for placebo research and implications for two common alternative interpretations of self-awareness effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-274
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1979


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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