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The Lack of Side Effects of an Ineffective Treatment Facilitates the Development of a Belief in Its Effectiveness

Figure 1

Two samples of the medical records used in the contingency learning task.

Medical records were presented sequentially (one new patient per trial). In these two samples, the fictitious patients were programmed to fail to recover. Thus, the outcomes for these two patients show the same symptoms as in the initial state of the trial (greenish skin, sweat) that was always presented in the top panel of each record. The record depicted in the top of the figure corresponds to a patient who was given the medicine by a participant in the high-cost group. The patient developed the skin rash side effect which was added to the symptoms of the syndrome. The record depicted at the bottom of the figure corresponds to a patient in which the participant decided not to use the medicine (the pill bottle is crossed out in red). This patient showed no additional symptoms to the ones provoked by the syndrome alone.

Figure 1