{AHS Lesson 7} The Placebo Effect

Yo, students! Today, we’ll be going through how your mind can become a form of medicine that treats illnesses.

What is a placebo?

A placebo is any object that has no therapeutic value, but achieves a healing effect, due to one’s expectations.

Let’s give an example. Suffering from a fever, you went to see a doctor. As the doctor is itching for a permanent ban of his medical license, he prescribes to you a placebo. In theory, the pill will have absolutely no effect on your fever. However, because you believe that the pill is actually a medicine that will help cure your fever, you feel ‘cool‘ after taking it, and thought that your fever had actually subsided, when in reality, it had not. Thus, you begin to be less affected by the fever and able to carry out your normal lifestyle. In the end, the placebo ‘cured‘ your fever. This is known as the Placebo Effect.

All in all, placebos take advantage of your beliefs and expectations to carry out a theoretically impossible task. And of course, if you know it is a placebo, it will not work at all.

The placebo isn’t the medicine; it’s your mind that is the medicine.

Soul Eater
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Student (Pie): “If placebos are actually quite effective and do not require any active ingredients, as compared to real medicine, then why don’t doctors all around the world secretly prescribe placebos? Is it illegal to do that?”

I wouldn’t say illegal, just that it is extremely unethical of a doctor to do that. As a doctor, you should uphold your duty to treat and save people, instead of betraying people’s trust in you. The only exception whereby placebos are allowed, would be in research studies and experiments that have attained permission from the relevant authorities.

Furthermore, the effectiveness of a placebo varies from person to person. Therefore, placebos cannot just be given randomly to anyone.

Factors determining Effectiveness

  1. Physical Quality & Quantity of Placebo Object
    • duo-coloured capsule vs plain white pill
    • two pills a day vs one pill only
  2. Amount of Trust in Prescriber
    • world-renowned physician vs clinic doctor
  3. The Strength of Your Desire to Get Well
    • “Argh! I need to attend an important meeting!” vs ” Yes! I can skip school!”

For your homework, watch this Youtube video when you get home.

Okay, that’s all for today’s les-

Student (QT-Pie): “Sensei, there’s still 15 more minutes to recess.”


Oh. Well then, let’s go on with Part 2! ^^ Haha don’t worry, it won’t take that much longer.


Similar to a placebo, when we believe in something, there is a high possibility that the desired outcome will come true.

Log Horizon
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If we think that something is correct, we experience the tendency to affirm the fact that it is correct. If we think that something is wrong, we become more sensitive to points that prove it is actually wrong. This phenomenon is called Confirmation Bias.

For example, in an argument between two people, each individual would be more inclined to identify one another’s misunderstanding or invalid statements, and point out their faults. This may lead to erroneous assumptions, as they are just picking out what they want to see, instead of looking at the overall intended message.

Hence, confirmation bias is a form of error, as it causes people to fail to look at the big picture and instead, focusing on smaller details that appeal to them.

Recently, I watched a video, where some guys re-arranged food from McDonald’s and displayed them at an exhibition, telling people that it was all organic. Under that assumption, people pointed out several details in order to compliment how ‘organic’ it is. It is a really witty idea to showcase confirmation bias at its finest. ((Btw, turn on subtitles/translation if you don’t understand Dutch))

So students, remember this! Whenever you’re quarrelling with someone else, try to understand their overall argument and put yourself in their shoes. Once you realise where they are coming from, clarify any misunderstandings between the both of you and work together towards a better future! 🙂


Thank you for reading this relatively lengthy post! xD Feel free to share any of your thoughts and opinions!