• Posted: November 2012
  • Comments: 1

Derren Brown, placebo, pills and psychology

Last night on television Derren Brown’s latest program called ‘Fear and Faith’ aired. The show was analysing and showing the effect placebo has on different control groups for varying contexts. Before I summarise the program if you’re in the UK you can view part 1 on 4OD highly recommend. Derren originally picked a group of four people who had fears/phobias and anxieties related to heights, public performing and social anxiety. The group were told that they were part of a study for a ‘wonder drug’ called ‘Rumyodin’ and that this drug had only been used in the armed services previously for soldiers to serve with absolutely no fear in the most dangerous of conditions. To layer in the authenticity of the drug, the participants were taken to a newly created for the show Pharmaceutical centre and met with senior Doctors who further reiterated the effects of the drug as well as outlining the conditions for the drugs usage. The group also met with someone who had taken the drug and was reaping the benefits and watched a video reiterating even further. One of the participants after taking Rumyodin for the first time phobia for heights vanished immediately. The other members of the group proceeded to take the prescription of blue pills (studies have shown this has a calming effect) and were told to keep a diary of all the positive changes that had occurred since taking the drug, further enforcing the positive changes.

Derren also picked other groups for different contexts such as smoking and intelligence. What was amazing was the differences that people had from taking Rumyodin which was just a sugar capsule. One of the gentleman proceeded to stand on the very top step of a magnificent bridge hundreds of feet in the air. Another man reported a dramatic shift in his performance in social contexts.  It leads to the question is all psychology and pills placebo?

What would be an interesting experiment would be studying the biological differences in people who have cured themselves from smoking for example from taking nicotine tablets, NLP/hypnosis and sheer willpower. What happens to this person at the point of stopping and throughout the process of stopping?
It’s an incredible area and something that has further room for deeper exploration. I’d love to hear your comments in the forum or on facebook.

Personally as long as me or my clients get the change I couldn’t give a hoot. As something needs to happen in ourselves to move on from a fear or phobia and at the end of the day it’s all up to us.

Until next time


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