Color Placebos (02-06-19)

Gaab, Kossowsky, Ehlert, and Locher found that colors can have a placebo effect.  Via their study, published in Scientific Reports, they determined that “Placebos can . . . have effects when specific psychological effects are attributed to them. . . . The accompanying explanation – the narrative – played a key role when dispensing the placebos, as did the relationship between the researchers and the participants. The researchers used the color green as the placebo in the video experiments, examining it both with and without a psychological narrative (‘green is calming because it activates early conditioned emotional schemata’), as well as in the context of a neutral or a friendly relationship.  After viewing the videos, the participants assessed their subjective condition with questionnaires over several days. The results showed that the placebo had a positive effect on the participants’ well-being when it was prescribed together with a psychological narrative and in the context of a friendly relationship. The observed effect was strongest after administering the placebo but remained evident for up to one week.”

“Even Psychological Placebos Have An Effect.”  2019.  Press release, University of Basel,