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講者:Prof. Przemysław Bąbel (Jagiellonian University, Poland)

講題:Can Pain be (Un)learned? From Experimental Studies to the Learning Theory of Placebo Effects







Placebo effects, recognized as learning phenomena since the 1950s, rely on mechanisms such as classical conditioning and observational learning. While various theoretical accounts have been proposed, they often focus on isolated learning processes, overlooking their interconnected nature and lacking a comprehensive perspective on the current state of the field. The prevailing theoretical accounts frequently assume that expectancy serves as the sole mediator of placebo effects induced by learning processes. However, emerging evidence challenges this assumption, suggesting that conditioning may operate independently, constituting a distinct mechanism of placebo effects. Moreover, placebo effects arising from observational learning prove to be intricate, influenced by individual differences among observers and specific characteristics of the model. Surprisingly, the role of operant conditioning has been largely neglected in current accounts, despite early evidence supporting its relevance. In this talk, I aim to synthesize existing research on the role of learning in placebo effects and compare it with prevailing theoretical accounts. By highlighting discrepancies between theory and research findings, we open the path to developing a comprehensive learning theory of placebo effects. I will propose directions for advancing this theory and outline its fundamental assumptions.



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