Personality Types Linked with Placebo Effect
A new study suggests that a person’s personality traits can be directly linked to thier susceptibility to the placebo effect.
In a small group of study participants, 1/4 of the placebo effect was linked to specific traits, including resiliency, altruism, anger, and straightforwardness.
Most would assume traits such as impulsivity, or the tendency to be reward seeking, may be obviously linked to a placebo response, however study authors, including Jon-Kar Zubieta from the University of Michigan, initiated the study with a broader scope in mind.
The study consisted of 50 healthy male/female volunteers, aged 19-38. Volunteers underwent standard psychological testing to identify personality traits, as well as PET scanning of the brain to assess brain activity.
The participants were injected with salt water in thier jaw muscle to induce pain, and then administered a placebo pain killer. Scans showed the levels of released natural pain killer in each individual, which was then compared to thier identified personality traits. The angry, hostile types had the lowest effects from the placebo.
Why? Individuals with resiliency had the ability to withstand and overcome stressors more easily. They could take the environmental information (the placebo) and convert it to a change in biology.