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16 Things That Have Placebo Effects, but People Treat Them Like They’re Real

The mind is a weird and wonderful thing. We, as human beings, hardly understand a 10th of what it can do, and maybe that’s why it’s so easy for us to believe something is helping us when it’s actually not.

But is it helping us if we believe it is? People would argue that’s the case for these 16 things.

16. Sure, it’s easy to trick a DOG.

My dog’s medicine coming out of his treat tin instead of medicine packaging.

Makes a seconds-ago-disgusting-medicine taste mysteriously treat-like.

15. You gotta love kids.

I worked at a kids birthday party place for a couple years in high school. So many kids would cry because they fell over, bumped their arm, etc.

Never anything bad. I’d say something like “can you shake your foot around? Does it feel better?” “How about jumping in a circle?” “Alright we are going to blow on your hand so it feels better” and then ask if they are ready to play again. Works like a charm.

Also bandages for little boo boos. They think they are healed and get right back to being happy little kiddos 🙂

14. Well that’s reassuring.

As a former lifeguard, I can assure you that whatever “cleanup” you see lifeguards doing after someone vomits in the pool is almost certainly just show.

There isn’t really anything you can do, you just let the filter/chlorine take care of it and pretend to clean to please the suburban moms.

13. This works the opposite way, I guess.

Your perception of bad luck. The human brain is predisposed to remember bad experiences more vividly than the good ones.

Thus, for an example, you may say your luck is always awful at tolls, when in reality you only get stuck in traffic 20%-50% of the time.

12. You’re only fooling yourself.

The “keep my data private” button on websites.

11. This makes me want to give this kid a fistbump.

So I’m sure this has happened to other people, but this question just reminded me of my principal.

During meetings and such he uses the school auditorium, and most of the time I (Senior now at the school) have to run the sound and lights.

He’s extremely annoying about it, and ALWAYS asks for his mic to be turned up when in reality, he’s already extremely loud and will bust the speakers.

I just pretend to turn it up and ask him if it’s good, and he speaks and says “that’s perfect, thank you!” I swear he thinks I’m doing an amazing job and would bring me a coke or something for dealing with the meetings half of the day.

Greatest placebo to use against others that I’ve done.

10. There’s something so wholesome about this one.

I sold Christmas trees as a kid in junior and senior high school. Learned a trick for super fussy customers who had me hold up multiple trees to show them.

After the tenth or so tree i’d yell to my coworker, ” Hey Mike, if they don’t want this one put it aside for me. Nicest tree i’ve seen this year.” Worked like a charm!

9. Works until they’re about 2.

When you give your young sibling an unconnected controller after he/she kept bugging to join the game.

8. I wish this was still a thing.

The original Febreze was unscented, but nobody believed it worked so they added scent to it.

7. We’re all guilty of something like this.

Do commissioned creative stuff, if I deliver same or next day, people don’t think I spent enough time on it.

If I wait three days to driver, people are happy because they assume I worked on their project nonstop even though I was done a day or two prior

6. Hahaha cats are awesome.

When my cat wants fresh food, but he still has some in his bowl, I pretend to put more in there.

He usually falls for it.

5. Oh, dear.

I’m freelance artist and once I painted my client’s dog portrait with acrylic. I took photos and sent it to her and she said she wanted to fix some part of it. Like hair was too dark and mouth was a little bit too big.

Few hours later I accidentally re-sent one of the photo I sent to her to her again. She immediately relied “yes! This is what I want!”. I haven’t touch up anything more but it’s ok.

4. If it works, it works.

A lot of these “psychology tricks and tips” you’ll see online. Just in general, a lot of them have no scientific proof, but they work because everyone thinks they do.

This is how i actually live my life, I just tell my self things like these and placebo myself into changing my mindset or mood, ya’ll should try it it works

3. Tricky tricky.

Loading spinners on web pages. I once had a user complain to me a web app was too slow (and it was pretty fast).

So I tested him by making the animation spinner spin much faster. He went to my boss to praise me how much faster the web app was.

(spin.js is what i was using)

2. Help ME help YOU.

When I worked/trained tech support, our agents would always get pushback from customers when we asked them to power cycle their phone, which nine times out of ten would fix their issue.

So, I had them tell the customer to read them some numbers off the back of the battery (when they were still removable!) that we absolutely did not need. Then we told them we refreshed a few systems, and they put their battery back in and it’s all fixed!

Alternatively, when batteries couldn’t be removed, we’d tell them that if the phone was powered on while we did the update, it could ruin their SIM card. So they’d make sure to power off their phone. I’d do nothing. They’d turn it back on and it worked great!

But if I had TOLD them to power cycle their phones? No way.

1. It’s like they have to have SOME feedback.

I install semi truck bumpers. 90% of the time a customer will say it looks off by 1/8 of an inch. I’ll make a noise with the impact gun on a bolt and say “how’s that?”

“Yeah it looks great!”

Nothing moved whatsoever. Some guys are extremely critical I guess.

Some of these really made me think about human nature.

What, if anything, would you add to this list? Share with us in the comments!