Here’s another report on a study indicating that the placebo effect is more than participants wanting to please researchers. This isn’t the first study to blow that high school biology theory out of the water, just the most recent. All three articles I’ve blogged about are on the same study, which was published in the August 24 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. I’m writing about it again because this article makes the most sense out of all of them.
Basically the article says that brain chemical receptors, called mu-opioid receptors, appear to be activated to produce the placebo effect. So the effect is more than reporting bias, as it shows "brain mechanisms involved in the resiliency of the organism to respond to environmental events (e.g., injury, etc.). . . ."