Via kottke.org: The placebo effect is real apparently even when you know it’s a placebo, and, alternately, the possibility exists that cultural expectations of whether a drug works or not may have an effect on how well the drug works:
There are various possible interpretations of this finding: it’s possible, of course, that it was a function of changing research protocols. But one possibility is that the older drug became less effective after new ones were brought in, because of deteriorating medical belief in it.
Via me: Which reminded me if this insightful tidbit on chaos magic, by Mark Defrates:
Chaos Magick focuses on the mechanism of belief, and suggests that the process of belief rather than the object of belief is the critical element in magick.
Go think about that.