Running head: PSYCHOLOGY


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Psychology is an applied and scientific discipline that deals with the study and analysis of the mind, human and animal behaviours and attitudes. Psychology is a very broad concept with branches that depend on whether it is applied as scientific. This research paper is mainly involved in the determination of the link that exists between the expectations of individuals and their overall behavioural output that they may exhibit. To evaluate these a detailed study will be carried on former experiments that were carried inn the past and examine the findings, this will help validate these links or dismiss them.


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To determine this we revisit the experiments carried out in the past relating on the alcohol effects, our subject being a research conducted by Mark T Fillmore, on alcohol, Cognitive Impairment and expectances.

In the research several experiments were conducted to determine the effects among these experiments included a Rapid Information Processing experiment which was used to determine the speed of individuals through a computer generated pseudorandom digits, the individuals were expected to press a given computer digit whenever there appeared a sequence of three even numbers or three odd numbers.(Wagner 2005).

The other experiment had to do with filling of a drinking habit questionnaire, this yielded three measures which were; frequency of drinking, amount drunk and duration of drinking. Other involvements of the test were enquiries on whether these people had been convicted of impaired driving or whether they had any other problems as a result of their drinking habits.

Expected effect scale, this was to determine the expected effect of two beers drunk in an hour’s time on the initial test that is the ( Rapid Information Processing).This scale rated from -30 which indicated complete impairment and +30 which indicated extreme enhancement.

Beverage strength rating scale: under this subjects who received either alcohol or placebo drinks were required to rate the drinks where a zero would indicate the drink never equalled any beer. The aim was to register whether those who had received a placebo drink indicated they had received an alcoholic drink.

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Discussion of results

The experiments formed the following conclusions:-

Alcohol had a sure impact on the individual’s performance as it appeared impaired after these individuals had alcohol; this was realized by the look at their processing speeds. The other thing noted from the experiments is that individuals’ expectations on alcohol impairment contributed to differences in their processing rates both under placebo and alcohol drinks.

Those who had expected impairment had greater variations in their processing rates, despite the fact that processing rates of the placebo and control were no different.

Another interesting finding was that no link was found between expectations and actual performance across the individuals. This led to the conclusion that drinker’s expectations on alcohol effects leads to predictions of cognitive performance only when there are expectations of alcohol consumption or when alcohol is actually consumed.

The total findings summed indicate that expectancies on impairment due to alcohol can be taken as a prediction for individuals behavioural contrasts both when they have consumed alcohol or when they have had placebo drinks when initial expectations were alcohol. In a general assumption the study may lead to the conclusion that the difference in individual expectations on alcohol can be taken to explain the differences in their sensitivity. (Hernadex 2008).

Alcohol consumption leads t o a change in the individual s behaviour this results to the individual’s predetermined behaviour before alcohol consumption, especially influential to these expectations is the time period within which this individual has been drinking alcohol, this would help improve the degree of predictions that these individuals may have in determining their

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behaviour once they take alcohol. Thus then it is would be fair to conclude that experiences on drinking gives the individual a chance to learn and develop expectations on the alcohol effects so that they will match up with the individuals habit when under the drug.

It is also emerging that these expectations on alcohol impairment have a strong impact on the level of performance of the psychomotor. In the study impairment of the psychomotor that was shown by the drinkers was changed by altering their expectation s on impairment after alcohol consumption, this was done by giving other distinct effects that result from alcohol consumption. The study showed that the extent of impairment displayed by these individuals could be changed by altering the expectations of these individuals as a result of alcohol consumption. In conclusion the link between behaviour and expectations to alcohol indicates that expectations have a more effects (pervasive) which influence the behaviours exhibited by an individual after alcohol consumption.

Placebo and nocebo effects

These are inactive substances that are given with information that they will affect a certain situation in a given or stated way. (Gale 2004).

These effects are mostly predictions than specific psychological results but which have to be identified as isolate cases of familiar processes. Information gathered indicates that individuals who are prepared for a stimulant drug become more tense, thus the conclusion that there is a link between expectations and the induced physiological results. This study has come to confirm this as earlier studies had indicated the same link.

It is also worthwhile to note that the above link can be reversed, that is the results can be the other way round , studies have shown that a conditioning can result to a conditioned response which would be an exact opposite of the desired results. Such are what can be identified as

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nozebo responses, it should be noticed that most nozebo responses are as a result of classical conditioning as opposed to verbal communication, this however cannot be explained or at least it is not clear at the moment.(Filmore and Vogel 2002).

Placebo effects can be enhanced if the individual finds no reason to believe that he/she is taking an inactive substance. In summation placebo and nocebo responses may be enhanced through information on drug effects.

The effects of placebo responses can be further examined in experiments, such an experiment that draws the issue of expected effect of caffeine on motor performance, which predicts the type of response to placebo.

The conclusions of t his study indicates that a placebo response to caffeine is obtainable from the performance of the psychomotor, it also indicates that the expected caffeine effect before consumption determined the kind of placebo response that the individual had once a gin bringing out the link between expectations and results.

Other experiments on placebo effects include expectancies, odours, and cognitive performance, under this the individuals are expected to smell the odour on several blocks an d then smell blocks with no odour, these individuals are allocated to three different groups with each given different information on the results and expectations. When this experiment is carried out it indicates that those individuals who received positive information on the odour had improved cognitive response when it came to actual smelling of the odour this was in compare son to absence with no odour which was an indication of positive placebo effect. Receiving negative in formation had the complete opposite effect which resulted t o a nocebo (negative placebo). (Carscadden and Filmore 1998).

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There exists a strong relation between the expectations of an individual before he/she takes a substance and the actual behaviour exhibited after actual consumption this indicates the cognitive e responses of the individuals.


Carscadden, J and Filmore, M. (1998). Alcohol, cognitive impairments and expectancies.

Journal of studies on Alcohol, 59,174-179.

Filmore, M and Vogel-Sprott, M (2002).Expected affected of caffeine on motor

Performance predicts the type of response to placebo. Psychopharmacology, 106,209-214.

Gale Reference Team (2004). Gale Encyclopaedia of psychology: Placebo effect. Thomson Gale.

Hernandex, C. (2008). Foundations of psychology, London: Oxford publishers

Olsen, H and Flatten M. (1999). Drug-related information generates placebo and

Nocebo responses that modify the drug response. Psychosomatic Medicine, 61, 250-255.

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Podd, J and Stewart, S (2004). The placebo effect: Dissolving the expectancy

Versus conditioning debate. Psychological bulletin. 130, 324-340.

Toates, F, M. (1986). Biological foundations of behaviour; Guide to psychology, New York:

McGraw Education

Wagner, K. (2005). Major Schools of Thought in Psychology, London: Prentice Publishers