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Your Beliefs Have Psychopharmacological Effects

In a pharmacology class at a medical school, the pharmacology professor gave half the class a tablet that looked exactly like a well known stimulant and the other half of the students got a tablet that looked exactly like a well known sedative. Almost all the students in both groups experienced all the expected drug effects of the drug they thought they ingested. The professor later informed them that they had all been given a placebo. Despite being highly educated medical students, almost all of them discovered that their beliefs can actually create all the effects of an active drug.

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Your Beliefs Have Psychopharmacological Effects

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Berkelhammer is a retired mind-body medicine psychologist. He writes about mindfulness-based practices with a unique emphasis on optimization of wellbeing and health. Dr. Berkelhammer also lectures at San Francisco State University and UC San Francisco, and is currently teaching a class in Marin County through College of Marin. He is the author of the book "In Your Own Hands; New Hope for People with Chronic Medical Conditions".

See his extensive website:

In Your Own Hands: Mindfulness-Based Practices to Optimize Wellbeing - College of Marin Community Education

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APA Reference
Berkelhammer, D. (2015). Your Beliefs Have Psychopharmacological Effects. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Dec 2015
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