The Power Of Expectancy Effects On Cognitive Performance

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The Power of Expectancy Effects on Cognitive Performance Abstract Expectancy and placebo effects on cognitive performance haven’t been well studied. A 2 (‘Salvia’, Placebo) x 2 (Congruent, Incongruent) mixed experimental design was adopted to determine the role of expectancy in receiving a salvia capsule on selective attention. Olken, Flegal and Zajdel (2008) found that the expectation of receiving salvia can improve cognitive performance. In the current study, 102 second year undergraduate psychology students were allocated to the placebo condition and the ‘salvia’ condition. In the salvia condition, it was predicted that participants would expect that they were receiving salvia which would thus improve their cognitive performance which would lead them to perform better on the selective attention task than those in the placebo condition. Results showed that participants in the Salvia condition had significantly faster reaction times than the placebo condition both in congruent and incongruent conditions which suggests that expectancy plays a significant role in the mediation of the placebo effect and can thus improve cognitive performance supporting Olken, Fiegal and Zajdel (2008) findings. Introduction According to expectancy theory, the placebo effect is mediated directly by conscious expectation (Amanzio 2001). This is due to the psychosocial factors that are associated with the context of the treatment such as environmental cues which suggests what the treatment
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