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Thread: Religion maybe works a bit like Placebo treatments does? Expectations!

  1. #1 Religion maybe works a bit like Placebo treatments does? Expectations! 
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    I got interested in how placebo treatments and religious practices
    may be related to each other.

    Both rely on expectations and trust in the person that gives the other
    the expectations or if one are inspired by ones own wishes or wants
    one are the one that talk oneself into those expectations and hopes
    for something to work.

    A few links.
    Why placebos may work - even if patients know they're fake
    http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet...223-195w3.html

    That one is two years old so maybe it has been refuted as bad research? But here is a more recent?
    Depression Treatment: What Works and How We Know
    By Bruce Levine
    on May 13, 2012
    Depression Treatment: What Works and How We Know

    He take up similar ideas that I have but him being in the field and I am only
    a sloppy thinker that know nothing so I prefer to refer to his text then to
    write confusing words that is my very own

    So what does he say?

    ... skepticism makes one stubbornly resistant to much of what helps others.
    Specifically, to the extent one has uncritical faith in a treatment, it is far more likely
    to be experienced as successful; but to the extent that one is more skeptical about
    the effectiveness of treatment, one is less likely to have expectations
    that it will be effective, and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
    and
    When skeptics discover that there have been others like themselves
    who have escaped this conundrum by finding something that they could believe in
    without giving up their critical thinking, this can jump start them into finding their own
    particular antidote to depression.
    That reminds me of the old title from 2010.
    Why placebos may work - even if patients know they're fake

    That would be a good thing indeed. Would be cool if reliable research
    could be done to confirm this to be true and some easy to follow instruction
    on how to get it to work or us that need some Placebo for to be less sad and lonely.


    Last edited by JackMonedula; July 14th, 2012 at 12:56 PM. Reason: Some grammar and links correcting link?
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  3. #2  
    Ascended Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackMonedula View Post
    Why placebos may work - even if patients know they're fake
    That, surprisingly is no big revelation, it's been well known for some time that the psychological placebo effect is almost as effective as experiencing genuinely possitive real emotions and experiences. For example everybody knows about the psychological and physiological benefits of laughter, if they didn't well it is beneficial and is one of the main reasons women are attracted to men that make them laugh, but I digress the same possitive effects can be generated through fake laughter even though the subject is fully aware that they are faking their laughter. That said to maintain prolonged fake laughter requires considerable effort as opposed to natural laughter that comes easily and is often hard to stop.

    What this serves to highlight is that we respond to what we believe to be possitive things, wether we know them to be true or false seems irrelevant. So looking at this in the broader sense when applied to religion we can see that if by participating in religion people are experiencing the re-enforcement of possitive values then they will find the whole religious experience as beneficial and it will make them happier and feel an improved sense of physical well being.

    However though the reverse is also possible, that if through being religious people are being introduced to negative ideas, these can include anything that focuses on telling people that they shouldn't do certain things or that some things are wrong, then the whole religious experience will have a negative effect on their psychological well being as a whole, they may also experience other symptoms such as a lack of energy and feeling drained and tired as a result, thus overall negative effects.

    It does highlight how even the perception of possitive or negative values can really effect us.


    Last edited by Ascended; July 14th, 2012 at 01:30 PM. Reason: missed a couple words out
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
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  4. #3  
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    [QUOTE=JackMonedula;337410]
    Why placebos may work - even if patients know they're fake
    http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet...1223-195w3.htm[QUOTE]

    BTW this link is dead.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
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  5. #4  
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    Chris thanks for pointing out that my skills giving links need to get improved indeed. I try again.
    Placebo effect works even if patients know they're getting a sham drug | Science | guardian.co.uk
    Harvard Medical School Study Into Placebos | PLoS ONE
    Fake Pills Can Work, Even If Patients Know It : Shots - Health Blog : NPR

    Maybe some Moderator can see what I need to learn for to do this properly. I apology for my lack of knowhow.

    I trust such research need to be done with proper set up to weed out any bias.
    But who knows maybe some kind of set up would work even of one know it to be false.

    Sounds not logical to me but I am not good at logic so ... I agree about the forced laughing.
    Stand up comedians know how hard it can be to break an unwilling audience. Whatever they do
    their is hardly any laughter and the public indicate they want the show to let another one try instead.

    Some years later same guy same jokes works successfully. Timing body language and attitude.
    So little that can make it fail. So little adjustment that is the difference between total failure and success.
    The only way to find out for them is to expose themselves to the audience again and again until
    they get the hang of what works and what not. Just me rambling not important.

    Back to the topic that really interest me. Take this part of what Levine writes.

    When skeptics discover that there have been others like themselves
    who have escaped this conundrum by finding something that they could believe in
    without giving up their critical thinking, this can jump start them into finding their own
    particular antidote to depression.
    I guess one have to experience this first hand to see the importance of it.
    I trust most people don't care at all. But for us who struggle with it this is
    very important. Theoretically I find it credible. I think he is on to something
    that is important but I only know this theoretically as a possible truth.

    That one should be able to talk oneself into feeling less depressed.
    But knowing that one lie to oneself is makes it fails to me. A lie is a lie.

    So how can one decently do such without lying? I guess one would need
    to know rhetoric skills? Implicit or intuitive ways to talk? Some kind of
    metaphoric ways of saying it so it is not a lie but not matter of fact either.

    I often try to give example from music experiences.

    Suppose you grew up when Rock'nRoll was in it's earliest start. Say 1952 to 1954?
    Jazz where king. No true Jazz digging person would admit that Rock had any future at all.

    To them Jazz where King and people like Nat King Cole and others where the real musicians.
    Elvis where no king to them. Only Jazz where the true music.

    But now this many years later. Despite being scorned as too simplistic music
    that had no real value. Almost all "pop" music has more Rock in it than Jazz in it.

    Okay Jazz is not dead. There still are enthusiasts that play and listen to it but
    commercial success is not so easy to do if you only do the Jazz that where popular
    around 1950. You would not do success with the Rock around then either but you
    now know that something the Jazz musicians failed to take in that Rock had in it
    a potential to become something big.

    Okay the word lie is too strong maybe but to very many active Jazz musicians
    Rock where musically a kind of lie. A betrayal of real music to them. They refused
    to play it because the true music to them where the Jazz they loved. They would have
    to lie to themselves to be able to "hear" Rock as we youngsters heard Rock.

    To us Rock where the true music of our time. It has all the signs of being true
    but if one took it apart and looked at it from a Jazz perspective it where all
    fake and lie and scam and shame to real music. Not real music at all.
    Some kind of commercial faked music that they felt ashamed of and a lie
    because they could hear that it where not the real music them loved.

    They could not lie to themselves that it had any value. To them it did not sound true!

    Hope my rambling makes sense. I wish I could say it in short concise words
    but all this is more like bodily feelings to me and not real understanding.

    Now when I am old past 65 and I listen to that Rock that is more than 50 years old
    I can hear why the Jazz musicians told to be a scam and lie kind of music. A betrayal
    of real true Jazz music to them. But to me being a teen it where the true music to us.

    Links works for me now so I try to edit my first entry
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    I think here though we are talking about accepting something subconsciously as a opposed to actually accepting or rejecting the idea of something by making a conscious choice, such as in how they felt about Rock music compared with Jazz.

    This difference in the way in which and level at which we accept things can be significant as many of things we actually have a choice over don't effect as much other in the same way that something that we accept subconsciously.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
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    An interesting analogy, to be sure. I would be curious to see whether or not religious individuals are more or less susceptible to the placebo effect than individuals who aren't religious. Do you know, has there ever been any research conducted to address that question?
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  8. #7  
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    No I don't know, and it is interesting, but I would imagine where ever possible science tries to stay out of religion and to be sure I can't see many religions being open to the idea of scientific scrutiny.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
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    I would imagine where ever possible science tries to stay out of religion
    depends on what you refer to using those words. Science already do try to understand
    a lot of psychological and sociological ways that people relate to religion.

    I want as much reliable science research as possible to be done on how and why people get religious.

    I agree that to know what goes on subconsciously is not easy but they have done a bit progress
    on such already but not in relation to faith but in relation to oxytocine and altruism?

    I find it likely that level of Oxytocine can be related to scuch things as trust in placebo
    or trust in religious claims. But that is my own wild speculation.

    Re this
    how they felt about Rock music compared with Jazz.
    Yes maybe my analogy is too crude. The only reason I made it is that I have personal experience
    of that that where what did happen where I live. I don't know how conscious they where taking those
    positions. I where too young to have such insights in what goes on in grown up men and women
    and their taste for music.

    Iguess I took the music in sub-consciously Consciously I know it where part of my generation.
    Everybody in my School same age loved Rock unless they where Jazz diggers. They even had
    physical fights about this. Class and political fights due to Jazz was seen as middle class
    and Classic music as Upper Class and Rock as the Working class.

    That where the conscious level but I where not into politics. I liked a lot of Classic music
    even as a low worker class guy.
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    I want as much reliable science research as possible to be done on how and why people get religious.
    Let me explain. 40 years ago and maybe even 50 years ago a lot of "science minded" people where
    very sure of that religion would just wither away with the education in science and that is logical
    because if you ask very highly educated top scientists then a majority of them are atheists

    But this view say 40 years ago where totally wrong about what we see now.
    Religion is back even if not on same levels as 50 years ago. They have less people
    actually going to church and less people paying to those churches so their economy
    makes them need to cut down and merge with other such to survive.

    But on the individual level there are very many that still is privately religious and that
    vote politically for laws that are anti-abortion and against Stem Cell and so on.

    The religious behavior have changed it is more private now but still too many are religious.

    40 years ago AFAIK may atheist scientists thought that religion where only a cultural indoctrination
    and that if one gave people education they would realize how ridicule it is to have faith.

    I thought so too when I where a teenager. I trusted the atheist scientists 40 years ago.

    Now when I look back I think all of us where very naive. I trust there is some biological
    trait that makes some people more vulnerable than others and that it is very normal
    to be that at least a bit vulnerable to such cultural expressions.

    So I hope we get as much research as possible and we need reliable research too.
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  11. #10  
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    I would probarbly be more interested in just why a religion would want or allow scientifc study than the actual study itself. I would have to suspect some sort of ulterior motive.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Actually religion is therapeutic for atheists also. Whenever I hear anything religious I feel great knowing that I'm not part of it.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  13. #12  
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    Guys I am not intelligent enough to come up with a logical response so I just do a Big smile!
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