Many Minds Podcast Episode "Rehabilitating Placebo" with Urte Laukaityte - Photo by Jeremy Thompson "New Orleans French Quarter - New Orleans Pharmacy Museum"
Jun 26, 2024

Rehabilitating Placebo with Urte Laukaityte (podcast)

Though we’ve learned a lot about the placebo in recent decades, we have not yet harnessed its full potential.

By Templeton Staff

The power of the placebo effect is more than just a trick of the mind; it's a complex phenomenon with real physiological impact. 

Urte Laukaityte, longtime Assistant Producer for Many Minds Podcast, presents an audio essay exploring the potential of the placebo effect for this installment of the show. 



“Placebo has been going through a reputational makeover. The placebo effect produces measurable physiological changes that can be clinically helpful — so much so that I reckon we should start making better use of it, including as a treatment in its own right, and not for any of the fluffy reasons that you might expect.”

Urte Laukaityte, Many Minds Podcast

Many Minds podcast host, cognitive scientist, and writer Kensy Cooperrider introduces the episode:

“Urte Laukaityte is a philosopher, working primarily in the philosophy of psychiatry, but also in the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of biology, the history of medicine, and neighboring fields. She’s particularly interested in a colorful constellation of psychiatric phenomena — phenomena like hypnosis, mass hysteria, psychogenic conditions, and (the topic of today’s essay) the placebo effect.

There’s almost certainly more to placebo than you realize — it’s a surprisingly many-layered phenomenon. Here, Urte pulls apart those layers. She talks about what placebo can and cannot do, the mechanisms by which it operates, the ethical dimensions of its use, its evil twin nocebo, how it is woven through the history of medicine, and a lot more. She argues that, though we’ve learned a lot about the placebo in recent decades, we have not yet harnessed its full potential.”

Image by Jeremy Thompson via Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Templeton World Charity Foundation's Diverse Intelligences is a multiyear, global effort to understand a world alive with brilliance in many forms. Its mission is to promote open-minded, forward-looking inquiry in animal, human, and machine intelligences. We collaborate with leading experts and emerging scholars from around the globe, developing high-caliber projects that advance our comprehension of the constellation of intelligences.

Many Minds is a project of the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute (DISI), made possible through a grant from TWCF to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The Many Minds podcast is hosted and produced by Kensy Cooperrider, with help from Assistant Producer Urte Laukaityte. Creative support is provided by DISI Directors Erica Cartmill and Jacob Foster. Artwork featured as the podcast badge is by Ben Oldroyd.