I was wondering if any studies had been done on how to maximise the placebo effect in general - is, for instance, the placebo effect associated with homeopathic medicine more effective that, say, your doctor giving you a sugar pill?
Specifically, are users of homeopathy self-selected for susceptibility to the placebo effect. In addition, does the mythology and ritual surrounding homeopathy boost the effectiveness of the placebo effect?
I guess both these questions would come down to a few questions:
- Do homeopathic users respond better than average to other placebo delivery mechanisms?
- Do non-homeopathic users respond less to homeopathy than homeopathic users?
- Do non-homeopathic users respond more to homeopathy than to a less ritualised placebo delivery?
It does strike me as a shame that more effort isn't put into understanding and utilising placebo effects, or have I missed that there's more work and activity taking place in this area than I'm aware of...