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Kate Faasse | This talk may cause side effects

Nocebo effects are really driven by the power of negative expectations – expecting to get side effects can cause them to happen.

Kate Faasse

Imagine if medical side effects were all in your head… turns out more than half of them might be. A lot of people have heard of the placebo effect; where taking a sugar pill can cause healing or health improvements, but far fewer are familiar with the nocebo effect – the dark side of placebo – where an innocent sugar pill can cause serious negative side effects. Research shows most medical side effects are likely to be caused by the nocebo effect, so if the majority of these feelings could be overcome by the simple power of thought, how can medical researchers break this cycle? Health psychologist Kate Faasse’s work explores how to ensure nocebo effects don’t prevent us from getting the right medical treatment.

A UNSW Centre for Ideas project, with illustrations designed by Juune Lee and footage filmed at the EPICentre – a UNSW research centre located at the Art & Design campus. Videos filmed and edited by Paper Moose, and podcast editing and music composition by Bryce Halliday.

Kate Faasse

Kate Faasse

Kate Faasse is a Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology, in the School of Psychology, Faculty of Science at UNSW Sydney. She is an ARC DECRA awardee, and recently received an Early Career Research Award from the International Society for Behavioural Medicine. Faasse’s main research area focuses on the nocebo effect – the dark side of the placebo effect – where negative expectations can cause unpleasant side effects. Her research explores how nocebo effects form, and how we can stop them.