What is the difference between a placebo and projection?


Wouldn’t people be projecting their desires and hopes that they will receive the outcomes they want onto the placebo and then it manifests as a “sort of positive” outcome? Sorry, I am already aware placebo is something that is supposed to be ineffective yet it still has some sort of positive effect, it’s just that I’m kind of confused.

In: Other

The difference is the origin of the belief.

A placebo is something that a person beliefs is legitimate, so they believe it has some sort of ability to do something. Like a pill that a doctor has ‘told’ someone is actually medicine, but isn’t. The belief originates with the object.

A projection would be something where the person has no outside indication that something will have some ability. They just ‘project’ that belief into the object. The belief originates from the person.

The placebo effect is absolutely a real effect, and doesn’t really have to do with what you want when something is supposed to be ineffective. It all has to do with your *perception* of what is supposed to happen. So, if you’re told you’ve been given painkillers, then the placebo effect will really dull pain. Conversely, if you’re told you’ve been given pain enhancers, then the pain will really be enhanced, despite you not *wanting* to feel pain.

In clinical trials, we can never remove the placebo effect, so we have to measure the effect that happens *in addition* to whatever placebo might be in place. That’s why you always hear “this drug performed 40% better than placebo”.

Placebo is in no way in effective. It is a both powerful and valuable. Equally so is nocebo (the equal and opposite effect). If more people actively utilised the placebo it would save money, time and resources in the health care dimension. So would avoidance and minimisation of nocebo.

Projection is more when you accuse someone of having the same negative trait that you yourself have. The accusation becomes the evidence that you don’t have the trait. It’s a [defense mechanism](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defence_mechanism).