Explaining the placebo effect: Aliefs, beliefs, and conditioning

Philosophical Psychology 24 (5):679 - 698 (2011)
There are a number of competing psychological accounts of the placebo effect, and much of the recent debate centers on the relative importance of classical conditioning and conscious beliefs. In this paper, I discuss apparent problems with these accounts and with ?disjunctive? accounts that deny that placebo effects can be given a unified psychological explanation. The fact that some placebo effects seem to be mediated by cognitive states with content that is consciously inaccessible and inferentially isolated from a subject's beliefs motivates an account of the placebo effect in terms of subdoxastic cognitive states. I propose that aliefs, subdoxastic cognitive states that are associative, automatic, and arational, can provide a unified psychological account of the placebo effect. This account also has the potential to illuminate interesting connections to other psychological phenomena.
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DOI 10.1080/09515089.2011.559624
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References found in this work BETA
Tamar Szabó Gendler (2008). Alief and Belief. Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):634-663.
Stephen P. Stich (1978). Beliefs and Subdoxastic States. Philosophy of Science 45 (December):499-518.

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