Nocebo effect - what is it? And what can we do about it?

Date Published: 
Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Professor Keith Petrie talks about the 'nocebo' effect. Keith is a professor in the Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland and has made significant contributions to health, medicine and psycho-immunology. His Illness Perception Questionnaire (IPQ) is widely cited, and its use has advanced the understanding of how people perceive and respond to illness, with implications for recovery.



  • Definition of the nocebo effect.
  • Why should we be aware of this effect?
  • Examples of nocebo effect in practice.
  • How to reduce the effect?
  • How powerful is our language and patient relationship when thinking about this effect?
  • Are there any populations to be more aware of?
  • Nocebo effect and new technology.


Take home messages

  • The nocebo effect is an important part of medical practice.
  • Essentially, it’s a problem of misattribution.
  • Those that are susceptible tend to believe they are more sensitive to the effect of medicines and have higher levels of anxiety.
  • Clinician-patient relationship is important, as is providing information framed positively.




Professor Keith Petrie 
Department of Psychological Medicine

To contact Keith Click here.




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This presentation is intended for qualified health practitioners professional development and should not be relied upon for any other purpose. Any opinions offered are those of the presenter or other speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of Goodfellow Unit.