Confirmation Bias and the Placebo Effect

When I feel ill I want to get a confirmation of my diagnosis from my doctor – placebo effect.

I believe my doctor can help make me feel better – placebo effect.

I set myself up for what the doctor diagnoses – placebo effect.

On the way to the doctor’s office, I reassure myself I’m making the right move – placebo effect.

I may have to wait to be seen. I ruminate over my story about why I’m not feeling well. In my mind, I reassure myself again that the doctor knows best for me – placebo effect.

Doc asks me about my symptoms, confirming my belief that they care – placebo effect + confirmation bias.

In story form, I tell the doctor what and maybe why I’m feeling ill, hoping to elicit confirmation from them – placebo effect.

I anticipate the doctor’s perspective based on what I believe is their training and experience in treating others with the symptoms I have – placebo effect.

I cooperate to my fullest during the exam – placebo effect.

The doctor prescribes medication or other treatment instructions. I agree and thank them – placebo effect + confirmation bias.

I may have to drive to get my medications. All the way there, I feel so grateful my doctor is a good doctor and wrote me the right prescription – placebo effect + confirmation bias.

I take my medication as prescribed – placebo effect.

I anticipate getting better – placebo effect.

When I do feel better, I confirm my belief in the process – placebo effect confirmed.

There isn’t a moment that goes by free of confirmation bias – which bias strengthens the placebo effect. Which begs my question:

If most or all of my life is governed by the placebo effect strengthened by my confirmation bias, how much healing is actually done by someone outside me?

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