Dr Ben Seymour, Computational and Biological Learning Lab, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ


Center for Information and Neural Networks, National Institute for Information and Communications Technology (NICT), 1-3 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.

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Distracted by placebo

Buhle and colleagues' recentlyn pblished a extremely interesting paper -- they convincingly show that placebo-related analgesia and working memory 'load'-associated analgesia show no interaction, suggesting that they represent different mechanisms. This is important for our understanding of pain, and the result is one that is not obvious and will change the way many view endogenous analgesia. The strength of what is ultimately a negative finding (i.e. lack of an interaction) results from the adequacy of the design and analysis, and the strength of the main effects.

Buhle JT, Stevens BL, Friedman JJ, Wager TD. Distraction and placebo: two separate routes to pain control. Psychol Sci. 2012 Mar 1; 23(3): 246-53

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