Our guest this week is Erik Vance, a science writer who got hooked on the study of homeopathy and expanded his research into the placebo effect, hypnosis, and other “suggestive” techniques. In his new book Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain’s Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal, Erik works to explain the real power behind homeopathic medicine, acupuncture, hypnosis, and more… your mind! He explores what makes the placebo effect so, well, effective.
Erik and I talk about several entertaining and fascinating topics, including homeopathic medicine, the man who popularized hypnosis, and brujos (witch doctors) in Mexico City (one of whom )Erik convinced to curse him. We really go in depth on the subject of the placebo effect, and the wide-ranging implications of its power if we could better understand just how it works.
In particular, we focus on the importance of setting expectations in other areas, like marketing and advertising. Marketers can invoke their own “placebo effect” by telling the customer what to expect and not contradicting that expectation with the actual product or service.
Erik Vance has worked as a biologist, a rock climbing guide, a scientist on research projects dealing with dolphin intelligence, an environmental consultant, and an environmental educator. Now, he’s a science writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Nature, Scientific American, Harper’s, and National Geographic.
Erik’s investigation into the power of the placebo effect has real applications for medicine and marketing alike; you don’t want to miss this!
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On Today’s Episode We’ll Learn:
- How Erik became fascinated by the placebo effect’s role in alternative medicines.
- The parallel uses for the placebo effect in medicine and marketing
- How research on both neuromarketing and the placebo effect has only recently been accepted as worthy subject of academic research.
- Why shamans and witch doctors are traditionally excellent at leveraging their patients’ suggestibility.
- How coaches like Tony Robbins essentially employ mass hypnosis in their work.
Key Resources for Erik Vance:
- Connect with Erik: Suggestible You | Suggestible You on The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting | Twitter | Email
- Amazon: Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain’s Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal
- Kindle: Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain’s Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal
- Audible: Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain’s Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal
- Natalie Grams
- Franz Mesmer (and a bit more about Mesmer and hypnosis)
- Marie Antoinette
- Benjamin Franklin
- Andrew Newton Hypnosis
- Martin Lindstrom
- Neuromarketing: Pseudoscience No More from Forbes
- “Predicting Advertising Success Beyond Traditional Measures: New Insights from Neurophysiological Methods and Market Response Modeling” from Temple University
- Andrew Weil, M.D.
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Full Episode Transcript: