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PhD defence

Learning to perceive: Psychological and neural processes underlying placebo and nocebo effects on cutaneous sensations

  • J.S. Blythe
Wednesday 29 November 2023
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof.dr. A.W.M. Evers
  • dr. K.J. Peerdeman
  • dr. D.S. Veldhuijzen


The purpose of this dissertation is to advance our understanding of the psychological and neural processes that give rise to placebo and nocebo effects on pain and itch, so that we may better leverage the role of learned expectations in managing these unpleasant sensations. Although placebo and nocebo effects are known to occur reliably in many individuals, our understanding of psychological learning processes and methodological factors that influence the magnitude of these effects remains limited. A better grasp of the neural processes that lead these effects to form is also necessary to contextualize them within the larger framework of bottom-up and top-down sensory integration. Advancing both psychological and neural accounts of placebo and nocebo effects will aid in applying findings from this field of study to everyday life; particularly in clinical settings, and potentially any setting in which expectations regarding one’s future experiences come into play.

PhD dissertations

Approximately one week after the defence, PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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