Physical Science 8th grade (1).pdf

If the placebo effect is real everyone in the

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If the placebo effect is real, everyone in the experiment should catch fewer colds. It should not matter if a subject is taking vitamin C or not. Test the hypothesis Half of the subjects will receive vitamin C pills. The other half will take pills that look the same but are placebos. For example, they might be made of powdered sugar. To test the effect, all of the subjects take the “vitamin” pills for a month. We record how all of them respond to the pills. This becomes our experimental data. At the end of the experiment, which group caught fewer colds? If there is no difference, the placebo effect may be real. To test the hypothesis further, we would also follow up. When the experiment ends and the powdered sugar is no longer being given to half of the test subjects, do the number of colds caught by the subjects go up? If so, then we have more evidence to support our hypothesis. What were the results when the subjects believed they were taking vitamin C? How do those results compare with what happened when they stopped taking the pills? This is the point of comparison. Chapter 2 Connection
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45 U NIT 1 P HYSICAL S CIENCE AND Y OU Keep conditions the same For a good scientific experiment, other factors must also be considered. As experimenters, we need to be sure that conditions are the same at every point in the experiment. For example, how did the weather change? Did any subject’s overall well-being change (with, for instance, a death in the family, a broken arm, a job loss, for instance)? Were the subjects getting the same amount of rest before and after you gave them the pills? Were the subjects eating the same types of food before and after? These factors are called “variables.” For the experiment to be a success, the variables need to be controlled. Let’s assume everything was controlled in our experiment. The placebo effect is real. A person believes that a treatment will work. Then it is suggested that this type of treatment will work. The hypothesis is tested using controlled, observable, scientific methods and the results are measured. Before a new drug can be sold, it must prove to be more effective against a disease than a placebo. Real or imagined? Some scientists believe the placebo effect is a myth. Simple experiments like one discussed cannot prove that the effect is real. This is because all of the variables cannot be controlled. Does taking the placebo reduce a subject’s anxiety? Does it bring down stress levels? Does the extra attention and care the subject receives affect the results? Do encouraging messages trigger the subject’s response to the placebo? Variables play an important role in the outcome of any experiment. Most often, even the doctor conducting the test does not know which subjects are receiving a placebo. This type of test is known as a double-blind study. It means both the subject and the experimenter are “blind” about who is receiving a placebo. This is how new drugs are tested before they are sold.
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