Set and setting, psychedelics and the placebo response: An extra-pharmacological perspective on psychopharmacology

Ido Hartogsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

231 Scopus citations

Abstract

Placebo response theory and set and setting theory are two fields which examine how non-biological factors shape the response to therapy. Both consider factors such as expectancy, preparation and beliefs to be crucial for understanding the extra-pharmacological processes which shape the response to drugs. Yet there are also fundamental differences between the two theories. Set and setting concerns itself with response to psychoactive drugs only; placebo theory relates to all therapeutic interventions. Placebo theory is aimed at medical professionals; set and setting theory is aimed at professionals and drug users alike. Placebo theory is primarily descriptive, describing how placebo acts; set and setting theory is primarily prescriptive, educating therapists and users on how to control and optimize the effects of drugs. This paper examines how placebo theory and set and setting theory can complement and benefit each other, broadening our understanding of how non-biological factors shape response to drugs and other treatment interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1259-1267
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Volume30
Issue number12
Early online date16 Nov 2016
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016.

Keywords

  • Placebo
  • expectancy
  • hallucinogens
  • non-drug factors
  • psychedelics
  • set and setting
  • social pharmacology

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