New study gives the most detailed look yet at the neuroscience of placebo effects

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“Is the placebo changing the way a person constructs the experience of pain or is it changing the way a person thinks about it?” The placebo effect has never been fully understood despite the studies conducted, likely because these studies usually had small sample sizes. However, a new meta-analysis of 20 neuroimaging studies, with 600 participants, has revealed the parts of the human brain that are affected by placebo effects, and have answered the placebo cliffhanger: the placebo effect can actually control the construction of pain, not just the interpretation of it. Read full article here

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Overcoming Bias

Kai Cheng’s professor had a brilliant scheme. In his first lecture, he promised that each lecture would feature a “Lie of the Day”. But why? It made his students more attentive and analytical, poring over every detail of his lecture and making sense of why things were true. It was such a powerful teaching method that his students digested his most technical lectures quite easily because they tried so hard to catch his lie. The kicker? There was no lie in that first lecture; he had lied about that too! Read full article here


How Place Names Impact The Way We See Landscape

Would you believe that El Capitan and Measuring-Worm Stone are both names for the same mountain? Sitting in Yosemite National Park, it was called El Capitan by colonisers because it was a towering and formidable mountain. But to the Indigenous who called Yosemite home, it was Measuring-Worm Stone. They viewed it as a lesson in patience and resilience. Its name hails from a legend that details how a lowly measuring worm was the only one that could climb the cliff (though slowly) to rescue two brothers stuck on its peak. Read full article here

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