The Placebo Effect

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| By Phil_newton
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Phil_newton
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Quizzes Created: 7 | Total Attempts: 20,595
Questions: 15 | Attempts: 598

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Medical Test Quizzes & Trivia

At times, In the world of medicin the doctor will prescribe nutrition supplements to you and you might be given some vitamins. The quiz will find out how much you know about the placebo effect and how they help you.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    Ivan Pavlov is best known for his work on

    • A.

      Altruism

    • B.

      Classical Conditioning

    • C.

      Learned Helplessness

    • D.

      Relational Frame Theory

    • E.

      Spontaneous Recovery

    Correct Answer
    B. Classical Conditioning
    Explanation
    Ivan Pavlov is best known for his work on classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is a type of learning in which a neutral stimulus becomes associated with a meaningful stimulus, resulting in a learned response. Pavlov's famous experiment with dogs demonstrated this process, where he conditioned dogs to associate the sound of a bell with the presentation of food, causing them to salivate at the sound of the bell alone. This discovery had a significant impact on the field of psychology and our understanding of how behaviors are learned and influenced.

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  • 2. 

    If, in the previous example, the hungry dog were repeatedly presented with the bell in the absence of the dog food, what would happen to the dog's conditioned response?

    • A.

      It would weaken and ultimately disappear

    • B.

      It would strengthen

    • C.

      It would remain until the bell were paired with another unconditioned stimulus

    Correct Answer
    A. It would weaken and ultimately disappear
    Explanation
    If the hungry dog is repeatedly presented with the bell in the absence of the dog food, the conditioned response would weaken and ultimately disappear. This is because the dog has learned to associate the bell with the unconditioned stimulus (dog food), but when the bell is repeatedly presented without the food, the association weakens over time. Eventually, the dog will no longer respond to the bell because the conditioned response has been extinguished.

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  • 3. 

    What is the term which describes the process by which a conditioned response is ultimately 'lost'?

    • A.

      Acquisition

    • B.

      Blocking

    • C.

      Generalization

    • D.

      Latent Inhibition

    • E.

      Spontaneous Recovery

    Correct Answer
    A. Acquisition
    Explanation
    aha - trick question! The true term is extinction, but that would have been too easy. The key thing to take from this question is that 'extinction' does not result in a conditioned response being 'lost', rather that a new, 'stronger' association is formed, between the bell and food NOT being presented. Hence 'acquisition'.

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  • 4. 

    The response exhibited by Mr X is an example of

    • A.

      Altrusism

    • B.

      The Halo Effect

    • C.

      The Hawthorne Effect

    • D.

      The Nocebo Effect

    • E.

      The Placebo Effect

    Correct Answer
    E. The Placebo Effect
    Explanation
    The Placebo Effect refers to the phenomenon where a person experiences a perceived improvement in their condition or symptoms due to the belief that they are receiving a beneficial treatment, even if the treatment itself is inactive or has no therapeutic value. In this case, Mr X's response is likely influenced by his belief in the treatment, leading to a positive outcome despite the treatment being ineffective.

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  • 5. 

    Mrs X has a bad cold. After suffering for a few days she goes to see her doctor. The doctor gives her some antibiotics. Mrs X feels better after a few days. In addition to a possible placebo effect, what other process might be at work to explain any perceived benefit of taking antibiotics for a common cold?

    • A.

      Hawthorne Effect

    • B.

      Natural History

    • C.

      Nocebo Effect

    • D.

      Regression to the Mean

    • E.

      Social Learning

    Correct Answer
    B. Natural History
    Explanation
    The perceived benefit of taking antibiotics for a common cold could be explained by the natural history of the illness. The common cold is a self-limiting viral infection that typically resolves on its own within a few days to a week. Therefore, regardless of whether Mrs X took antibiotics or not, her symptoms would have improved naturally over time. This suggests that the perceived benefit of taking antibiotics may be due to the natural course of the illness rather than the actual effectiveness of the medication.

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  • 6. 

    In a clinical trial, all 1000 participants receive the experimental treatment and the effects are compared to the 'pretreatment' condition, removing the need for a control group.  35 participants experience a benefit after taking the experimental treatment. Post hoc analysis reveals that these were the participants whose symptoms were the worst at the start of the trial. Unfortunately another 28 participants actually get worse. In this case post hoc analysis reveals these people had only mild symptoms at the start of the trial. What might explain this pattern of results?

    • A.

      Natural History

    • B.

      Nocebo Effect

    • C.

      Placebo Effect

    • D.

      Regression to the Mean

    • E.

      Social Learning

    Correct Answer
    D. Regression to the Mean
    Explanation
    Regression to the Mean may explain this pattern of results. Regression to the Mean refers to the phenomenon where extreme values on a variable tend to move closer to the average on subsequent measurements. In this case, participants with the worst symptoms at the start of the trial (extreme values) may have experienced improvement simply due to natural variability, rather than the experimental treatment. Similarly, participants with mild symptoms at the start of the trial may have experienced a worsening of symptoms due to the same natural variability. This suggests that the initial severity of symptoms may have influenced the outcomes, rather than the experimental treatment itself.

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  • 7. 

    Which of the following best describes a nocebo effect?

    • A.

      A patient notices an improvement in their symptoms after being given B vitamins for chronic fatigue

    • B.

      A patient reports an improvement in their symptoms when taking some time off for a common cold

    • C.

      A patient feels anxious and fearful when a doctor tells them "this will probably hurt" before administering treatment

    • D.

      A patient notices an improvement in their symptoms after being given antibiotics for a commons cold

    • E.

      Patients report that medical staff are more attentive during a clinical audit

    Correct Answer
    C. A patient feels anxious and fearful when a doctor tells them "this will probably hurt" before administering treatment
    Explanation
    The correct answer describes the nocebo effect, which occurs when a patient experiences negative symptoms or side effects due to the expectation that a treatment will cause harm or discomfort. In this scenario, the patient feels anxious and fearful because the doctor's statement creates a negative expectation about the upcoming treatment, leading to heightened anxiety and fear. This aligns with the definition of the nocebo effect, where negative beliefs or expectations can result in negative outcomes or experiences.

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  • 8. 

    In a trial of Drug X for Darting Syndrome, participants are split into three groups - Control, Placebo and X. Symptoms of Darting Syndrome are measured on the Ockey Scale. Patients in the Control group report a 40 point improvement in their symptoms, while those receiving Placebo report a 100 point improvement. Those taking X report a 180 point improvement. In points, what is the magnitude of the Placebo effect?

    • A.

      40

    • B.

      60

    • C.

      80

    • D.

      100

    • E.

      140

    Correct Answer
    B. 60
    Explanation
    The placebo effect is the difference between the placebo condition and an 'untreated' control

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  • 9. 

    In the same trial, the therapeutic benefit of X, measured in points on the Ockey Scale is what? (In a trial of Drug X for Darting Syndrome, participants are split into three group - Control, Placebo and X. Symptoms of Darting Syndrome are measured on the Ockey Scale. Patients in the Control group report a 40 point improvement in their symptoms, while those receiving Placebo report a 100 point improvement. Those taking X report a 180 point improvement).

    • A.

      40

    • B.

      60

    • C.

      80

    • D.

      120

    • E.

      180

    Correct Answer
    E. 180
    Explanation
    The key thing here is that the effects of a medicine include the effects of a placebo (assuming the effect of both is beneficial).

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  • 10. 

    Some fundamental principle of homeopathy are that (check all that apply) ('correct option(s) from Society of Homeopaths website)

    • A.

      A substance which causes symptoms when taken in large doses, can be used in small amounts to treat those same symptoms.

    • B.

      The higher the concentration of an active ingredient in a medicine, the more potent it is.

    • C.

      The manufacture of homeopathic medicines requires serial dilution

    • D.

      The manufacture of homeopathic medicines must be carried out in the dark

    • E.

      The manufacture of homeopathic medicines requires(succussion = a specific form of vigorous agitation)

    Correct Answer(s)
    A. A substance which causes symptoms when taken in large doses, can be used in small amounts to treat those same symptoms.
    C. The manufacture of homeopathic medicines requires serial dilution
    E. The manufacture of homeopathic medicines requires(succussion = a specific form of vigorous agitation)
    Explanation
    Homeopathy is based on the principle of "like cures like," which means that a substance that can cause symptoms in large doses can be used in small amounts to treat those same symptoms. This principle is reflected in the correct answer choice. Additionally, the manufacture of homeopathic medicines requires serial dilution, which involves repeatedly diluting the active ingredient in water or alcohol. This process is believed to enhance the medicinal properties of the substance. Lastly, the manufacture of homeopathic medicines requires succussion, which is a specific form of vigorous agitation. This is done to further potentize the medicine and enhance its effectiveness.

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  • 11. 

    Homeopathic medicines have no known therapeutic benefit

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    B. False
    Explanation
    The statement "Homeopathic medicines have no known therapeutic benefit" is false. Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine that uses highly diluted substances to stimulate the body's natural healing processes. While the effectiveness of homeopathic treatments is a subject of debate and scientific research, many people believe that homeopathy can provide therapeutic benefits for various conditions. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that homeopathic medicines have no known therapeutic benefit.

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  • 12. 

    Mr X is suffering from Boris Syndrome. He has not been to the doctor as he has never been ill in his life before. A trusted friend has also suffered with Boris Syndrome and reports feeling much better after taking "Preparation 32". The friend gives Mr X a packet  of "Preparation 32" and tells Mr X it is 'sure to work'. Mr X reads the packaging and, sure enough, it states that Preparation 32 is 'clinically proven to relieve the symptoms of Boris Syndrome'. Mr X takes Preparation 32 and feels better. Mr X is not aware that multiple clinical trials have shown no clinical benefit of Preparation 32 in the treatment of Boris Syndrome. What psychological process, from the list below, best describes the mechanism by which Mr X feels better after taking Preparation 32?

    • A.

      Conditioned Inhibition

    • B.

      Extinction

    • C.

      Relational Learning

    • D.

      Response Expectancy

    • E.

      Social Learning

    Correct Answer
    D. Response Expectancy
    Explanation
    This is a somewhat clumsy example, but the basic principle is that there is ample evidence that therapeutic benefit can be obtained if a patient believes a medication is going to work, even in the absence of overt conditioning (although it is difficult to cleanly dissociate the two in real life). This can also be achieved through Social Learning, had Mr X watched his friend get better after taking Prep 32.

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  • 13. 

    Homeopathic medicines have no known therapeutic benefit beyond placebo

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    A. True
    Explanation
    This is still a hotly debated topic but, from a scientific perspective, the evidence is absolutely clear - homeopathic medicines have no therapeutic benefit beyond the placebo. However placebos can have powerful effects.

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Our quizzes are rigorously reviewed, monitored and continuously updated by our expert board to maintain accuracy, relevance, and timeliness.

  • Current Version
  • Mar 20, 2023
    Quiz Edited by
    ProProfs Editorial Team
  • Apr 09, 2012
    Quiz Created by
    Phil_newton
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