Study author Witthoft recommended viewing health news with a skeptical eye. "It appears essential to stay critical about any kind of scientific, or pseudo-scientific, information in the media," he said. "I would advise consumers not to jump to simple conclusions prematurely, but to critically review several sources of evidence."
Simply knowing that the things you hear and see can influence actual physical experiences may be helpful -- and eye-opening -- to many people, according to Kelley. "We don't like to believe that we can be pushed to feel something we wouldn't otherwise feel," he said. "But we can be."
Learn more about placebo effects from Harvard's Program in Placebo Studies.
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