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PSYCH 291 (32)
Chapter 4

Chapter Four.docx

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University of Waterloo
John Holmes

[ CHAPTER FOUR ] – TESTIMONIALS AND CASE STUDY EVIDENCE: PLACEBO EFFECTS AND THE AMAZING RANDI  Common occurrence in media psych: present own “clinical exp” or “case studies” as proof The Place of the Case Study  … = investigation tht looks intensely and in detail at sgl indvdl or very small # of indvdls  Useful in early stages of investigation of certain problems as indicators of which variables deserve more intense study  Prominent role in opening up new areas of study  Not useful at later stages of sci investigation b/c cannot be used as confirming/disconfirming evidence in test of particular theory - b/c are isolated events tht lack comparative info necessary to rule out alt explanation  Testimonials are like case studies (isolated events) - problem: there are testimonials to support virtually every therapy tried  Data collected as support for particular theory must not leave many other alt explanations as equally viable candidates Why Testimonials Are Worthless: Placebo Effect  Mere suggestion tht trtmt being administered enough to make many ppl feel better  Placebo effect = tendency of ppl to report tht any trtmt has helped them regardless of whether it has real therapeutic element  Placebo responses can “teach” chronic illness by confirming &/or reinforcing delusion of imagined disease - patients can become (d) on nonsci practitioners who employ placebo therapies The “Vividness” Problem  … = when faced w/ problem-solving/decision-making situation, ppl retrieve from memory info tht seems relevant to situation at hand - facts most accessible  Problem: vividness of per
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