The placebo ratchet

A placebo that works becomes more powerful.

Which makes it more likely to work next time.

It's that simple, but it's magic.

Placebos work for two reasons:

  1. The confidence they create makes it more likely our body will respond, our work will improve, that something will go better.
  2. Things might get better on their own, but if the placebo was around when it happened, it gets the credit.

And so, we end up with medicines or horoscopes or mantras or methods or devices that help us. Without a lot of expense, without side effects, without a hassle.

The positive ratchet of reinforcement can help us if we let it.