Huberman Lab

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How Placebo Effects Work to Change Our Biology & Psychology

In this episode, I discuss placebo and belief and mindset effects — all of which exert a powerful and real influence on our biology and psychology. I discuss how your beliefs and expectation that a certain outcome will occur after taking a substance (or any intervention cause genuine changes in brain and bodily function. I discuss how placebos can change neurotransmitter and hormone release, pain levels, whether the stress response is beneficial or detrimental and more. I also explain how placebo effects can work with traditional drug or behavioral treatments to help improve health outcomes and why some people are more susceptible to placebo effects. By the end of the episode, listeners will understand the placebo effect, how it works, and how beliefs and mindsets can be leveraged toward mental health, physical health, and performance goals. 
For show notes, including referenced articles and additional resources, please visit
Thank you to our sponsors
Eight Sleep:
(00:00:00) Placebo Effects
(00:02:40) Sponsors: Eight Sleep, AeroPress & Levels
(00:07:24) Placebo, Nocebo vs. Belief Effect, Prefrontal Cortex
(00:14:03) Dopamine, Placebo & Parkinson’s Disease; Placebo Controls
(00:21:36) Hormone Release & Placebo Effect, Paired Associations
(00:28:52) Conditioning Effect & Insulin; Pavlovian Response
(00:32:50) Sponsor: AG1
(00:34:17) Context & Expectations; Placebo Effect & Brain
(00:40:51) Cancer, Mind-Body Practices; Placebo Effects & Limits
(00:44:54) Asthma, Specificity & Placebo Effects
(00:48:01) Sponsor: InsideTracker
(00:49:03) Nicotine & Dose-Dependent Placebo Effects
(00:55:31) Placebo Effects vs. Belief Effects, Food & Mindset
(01:01:02) Exercise & Belief Effects
(01:04:08) Placebo Effect, Brain & Stress Response
(01:11:18) Individual Variation, Genetics & Placebo Effect
(01:16:11) Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Reviews, YouTube Feedback, Sponsors, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter

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Description by Huberman Lab
Huberman Lab discusses neuroscience — how our brain and its connections with the organs of our body control our perceptions, our behaviors, and our health. We also discuss existing and emerging tools for measuring and changing how our nervous system works. Andrew Huberman, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist and tenured professor in the department of neurobiology, and by courtesy, psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford School of Medicine. He has made numerous significant contributions to the fields of brain development, brain function and neural plasticity, which is the ability of our nervous system to rewire and learn new behaviors, skills and cognitive functioning.  Huberman is a McKnight Foundation and Pew Foundation Fellow and was awarded the Cogan Award, given to the scientist making the most significant discoveries in the study of vision, in 2017. His lab’s most recent work focuses on the influence of vision and respiration on human performance and brain states such as fear and courage. He also works on neural regeneration and directs a clinical trial to promote visual restoration in diseases that cause blindness. Huberman is also actively involved in developing tools now in use by the elite military in the U.S. and Canada, athletes, and technology industries to optimize performance in high stress environments, enhance neural plasticity, mitigate stress and optimize sleep.   Work from the Huberman Laboratory at Stanford School of Medicine has been published in top journals including Nature, Science and Cell and has been featured in TIME, BBC, Scientific American, Discover and other top media outlets.  In 2021, Dr. Huberman launched the Huberman Lab podcast. The podcast is frequently ranked in the top 5 of all podcasts globally and is often ranked #1 in the categories of Science, Education, and Health & Fitness.
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