The Placebo Effect [EL028]

Course highlights

EC points


Start date


End date


Course days

Monday to Friday


Reinoud de Jongh, PhD

Course fee

€ 945


Erasmus MC, Rotterdam NL




  • Medical Psychology


How to apply

Detailed information about this course:


This course is cancelled in 2023. We hope to offer it again in the spring of 2024.

The placebo effect has been studied since the 1950’s, starting with the original 1955 study of Beecher. In this course we will discuss several postulated underlying mechanisms of the placebo effect (e.g. expectancy, conditioning, affect-modulation, and doctor-patient communication). Furthermore we will debate the existence of the placebo effect and discuss the challenges in measuring the effect. Questions that will be addressed are for instance: can you deliver an open label placebo? Is it ethical to prescribe a placebo when a patient doesn’t know he is getting a sugar pill? Does the placebo effect exist outside of pain medication research? You will experience the strength of the placebo effect first hand in an experiment during the course.

The assessment of the course will exist of the presentation of a research proposal for studying the placebo effect.

See 'how to apply' for the course registration period.


Gaining knowledge about

  • The underlying mechanisms of the placebo-effect
  • Methodological issues in measuring the placebo effect
  • Ethical issues in the application of placebo’s


Assignment(s), Attendance

Reduction on fees

PLEASE NOTE: This does not apply to the fee of the research master programmes (120 EC points)

No fees are charged for  Erasmus MC PhD candidates, provided they have an account in Hora Finita, the Erasmus University PhD registration system. When submitting the application, you can state that someone else pays your tuition fee.

In case of cancellation or no show, the cancellation policy applies based on the full course fee.


25% reduction for all (international) PhD candidates without formal appointment at Erasmus MC

Upon receipt of your application you will receive a request to upload proof of enrollment as a PhD candidate.