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Steven Pashko to Present at the 121st Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association

Honolulu, HI (PRWEB) July 31, 2013

To reveal important clues as to why Placebo pills are effective on some patients, Dr. Pashko will explain how the theory of the “two selves,” the remembering self and the experiencing self, influence how an individual perceives pain. The remembering self, akin to the ego-identity, is built from a person’s previous memories, perceptions, and learned concepts. The experiencing self relies on a person’s sensory-perceptual experience of what is happening in the present.

To better understand the reason behind the effectiveness of placebos, Dr. Pashko hypothesizes that the patients who respond to placebo pills are able to shift from the remembering self to the experiencing self, therefore relieving stress triggers from the past that cause pain and discomfort.

Examples of how the two selves perceive the world differently can be seen in many ways. For many years, die-hard fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers enjoyed every moment of game play from Lebron James. When he started playing for the Miami Heat, Cavalier fans’ enjoyment for the talent of Lebron James may have declined, and possibly caused them to become resentful or hurt by his lack of commitment to the Cavaliers. This would be an example of how people use the remembering self to interpret the enjoyment of a sport. The experiencing self, however, would be able to set aside the pre-conceived concept that players should always stick with their teams, and to simply enjoy watching Lebron James perform as a talented basketball player.

Similarly, all complaints about pain involve our two views: the direct sensory-perceptual experience occurring in each moment, and all of our opinions and memories about pain—like how much should be endured, whether complaining is appropriate, and the remembrance of related distressing events. As with the example of a Cavaliers’ basketball fan, shifting from reliance on one’s opinions and beliefs to reliance only on one’s direct experience lessens the pain.

Originating from this hypothesis is a method to find people who will feel better by taking a placebo pill. Finding people who can quickly and completely swap their self-identity to the experiencing self is the way to identify someone who benefits from a placebo pill.
About Steven Pashko, Ph.D.

Steven Pashko is a research clinician who studies treatment effectiveness and the value of health and healthcare. With a background is in psychology and pharmacology, he conducts research and speaks about well-being. Notably, he submitted a method for patenting for way to identify people who will benefit from placebos.

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