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Neuroscience. 2014 Mar 28;263:125-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2014.01.016. Epub 2014 Jan 15.

Placebo treatment can alter primary visual cortex activity and connectivity.

Author information

  • 1Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Graz, Universitätsplatz 2/III, A-8010 Graz, Austria. Electronic address: anne.schienle@uni-graz.at.
  • 2Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Graz, Universitätsplatz 2/III, A-8010 Graz, Austria. Electronic address: sonja.uebel@uni-graz.at.
  • 3Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Graz, Universitätsplatz 2/III, A-8010 Graz, Austria. Electronic address: wilfried.scharmueller@uni-graz.at.

Abstract

Placebo treatment can alter brain activation in regions implicated in affective processing and cognitive control of emotions. This functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study investigated whether a placebo can additionally modulate visual cortex activity and connectivity during affective picture perception. The participants underwent a retest design where they were presented with disgusting, fear-eliciting and neutral pictures both with, and without a placebo (inert pill presented with the suggestion that it can reduce disgust symptoms). The placebo provoked a strong decrease in experienced disgust. This was accompanied by a reduced activation of the primary visual cortex, which showed reduced interaction with the amygdala and the insula. Accordingly, placebos are able to affect basic perceptive processes.

KEYWORDS:

affective pictures; disgust; fMRI; functional connectivity; placebo

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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