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PLoS One. 2016 Nov 22;11(11):e0167121. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167121. eCollection 2016.

Transforming Water: Social Influence Moderates Psychological, Physiological, and Functional Response to a Placebo Product.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America.
2
Department of Management, Columbia Business School, New York, New York, United States of America.
3
Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, New York, United States of America.

Abstract

This paper investigates how social influence can alter physiological, psychological, and functional responses to a placebo product and how such responses influence the ultimate endorsement of the product. Participants consumed a product, "AquaCharge Energy Water," falsely-labeled as containing 200 mg of caffeine but which was actually plain spring water, in one of three conditions: a no social influence condition, a disconfirming social influence condition, and a confirming social influence condition. Results demonstrated that the effect of the product labeling on physiological alertness (systolic blood pressure), psychological alertness (self-reported alertness), functional alertness (cognitive interference), and product endorsement was moderated by social influence: participants experienced more subjective, physiological and functional alertness and stronger product endorsement when they consumed the product in the confirming social influence condition than when they consumed the product in the disconfirming social influence condition. These results suggest that social influence can alter subjective, physiological, and functional responses to a faux product, in this case transforming the effects of plain water.

PMID:
27875567
PMCID:
PMC5119827
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0167121
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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