This Guest Blog Post is from Jessica Xi, one of Dr. T’s Health Psychology students:
We know that placebos can help reduce pain, but it’s still not entirely understood how this works. This recent article, describes an attempt to use fMRI scans to explain how the placebo effect functions. Researchers noticed that some areas of the prefrontal cortex, which controls thinking, do not contribute to the placebo effect. Because previous research has revealed that distraction can also reduce pain, it is predicted that distraction is associated with thought control of the brain. Distraction reduces pain by activating a different part of the brain compared to placebos, so if you want a more powerful pain reducing effect, you should use both techniques.