The Lack of Side Effects of an Ineffective Treatment Facilitates the Development of a Belief in Its Effectiveness
These consisted of a picture and a message. Each patient either recovered from the crisis (left column) or not (right column). In addition, the cost (side effect) of the action was depicted as a permanent skin rash whenever it was used (top row). The skin rash was never observed otherwise (bottom row). In the no-cost group, regardless the decision to use the medicine, the stimuli were identical to those presented in the bottom row, except for the removal of the reference to side effects in the accompanying messages (i.e., “The patient has recovered from the crisis” or “The patient has not recovered from the crisis” for the left and right panels, respectively).