The power of suggestion: Another examination of misattribution and insomnia

Richard R. Bootzin, C. Peter Herman, Perry Nicassio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Attempted to replicate and delimit the reverse placebo effect found by M. D. Storms and R. E. Nisbett (see record) in 48 paid insomniacs (age range, 17-58 yrs). It was predicted that the reverse placebo effect would obtain when the pills' effects were described as affecting arousal (as in Storms and Nisbett's study) but that a direct suggestion effect would result when the pills were described as directly affecting sleep onset latency. Findings indicate that direct suggestion effects obtained regardless of the focus of the instructions. The present investigation, together with the results of R. Kellogg and R. S. Baron (1975) call into question the reliability and clinical significance of the reverse placebo effect in the treatment of insomnia. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-679
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1976
Externally publishedYes


  • R. E. Nisbett's study
  • suggestions describing arousal as pill effect vs pill as relaxant, reverse placebo effects, insomniacs, extension of M. D. Storms &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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