Re: Is honesty the best policy when giving placebos to patients?
Outside the ethical issues I wonder if being told that you are taking a placebo has an effect, negative or positive on the outcome, ie it will still have its placebo effect?
Taking it to the voodoo level. If you consciously don't believe in voodoo does that mean that if you are told that a doll, having pins stuck through the heart, head or wherever, is an effigy of you it wont have any effect?
Possibly you laugh at the stupidity of it all and then drop dead?
Placebos are aimed at the subconscious mind. The language of commuinication between the conscious and subconscious might be such that the conscious minds logic, rationality and reality don't translate well if at all into the language of the subconscious?
My gut feeling would be that letting the patient know that they were taking a placebo would make very little difference to the outcome for the vast majority of people.