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Term and YearFall 2021
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AbstractPrior studies have shown that placebos have had similar effects when treating symptoms of an illness or ailment. Placebo studies have shown that the placebo can reduce symptoms of the common cold, depression, phobias and many more ailments both biological and psychological. This proposed study will be on the fear of public speaking. The purpose is to build upon prior research of the placebo affect by introducing an activating placebo effect. Most placebo studies are conducted in such a way that the participants self-report a reduction in symptoms where they don't have to do anything but take the placebo and report back their symptom changes. An activating placebo effect is when the participants will have to actually do a task that involves facing their fear while undergoing their intervention. This way, the participants have taken as active role in reducing their symptoms. The hypothesis of this proposed study is that the participants will speak for longer on a public speaking task and will report less fear while performing the task. There will be 75 participants recruited through an online forum from a Northeastern public college. The participants will be randomly assigned into three groups of 25 each. The three groups are the Propranolol group, the open placebo group, and the no-treatment control group. Every participant must complete a brief 3 minute public speaking task twice, once at baseline and again a week later after their intervention. The first group will be given a placebo but is told it is propranolol, a drug performers take before going on stage, the second group will receive a placebo and told it is a placebo, while the third group will receive nothing. The researchers will ask the participants to fill out the Public Speaking Anxiety Scale (PSAS) both time they perform the public speaking task and to rate their fear on a Likert scale of 1-7 on their level of fear once they stop performing the public speaking task. They are allowed to stop speaking at any point during the speaking task. The expected results are that the participants taking the placebo but believe it is propranolol will speak fro longer than the participants taking the placebo and know it is a placebo. The no-treatment control group is to prevent a nocebo effect which is the negative expectation of taking a placebo that can skew the results of the open placebo group. If these results are proven, it means that an activating placebo effect can be used to treat severe ailments without using an active substance.