The placebo effect: measurement by multiple methods

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Morrisroe, Richard Patrick
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University College Cork
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This thesis investigated the relationship of explicit (self-report), implicit (IAT) and physiological variables to the placebo effect. The thesis consisted of three main parts. The first collected background data and developed models for two constructs (Optimism and Mindfulness) associated with the placebo effect and implicit attitudes, respectively. The second part of the thesis consisted of the development of an explicit measure of treatment expectancies, and the development of two IATs, one for Optimism and the other for Treatment Credibility. The final portion of the thesis was an experimental study (N=111) which tested these new measures in a sample of healthy volunteers. The primary hypothesis of the thesis, that there would be a relationship between the placebo effect and implicit measures, was not supported. Major findings include an effect of semantic priming on placebo response mediated by condition (Deceptive versus Open Placebo), an unexpected negative relationship between Optimism and self-reported Health, and a physiological relationship between pain ratings and GSR data, which was also mediated by Condition in the experiment. A complete record of the code and data for this thesis can be found at
Psychology , Psychometrics , Implicit association test , Placebo effect
Morrisroe, R. P. 2015. The placebo effect: measurement by multiple methods. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.