Associate Professor Kate Faasse

Associate Professor Kate Faasse

Associate Professor

PhD (Health Psychology) 

University of Auckland, New Zealand

School of Psychology

My main research area focuses on the nocebo effect – the dark side of the placebo effect – where negative expectations can cause unpleasant side effects. My research explores how nocebo effects form, and how we can stop them. 

More broadly, my work looks at psychological and social factors that influence health and treatment beliefs and outcomes. My goal is to do research that helps us better understand the mind-body factors that contribute to treatment outcomes.

I'm currently working on a number of projects that relate to nocebo effects, placebo effects (including open-label placebo effects - placebos can make you feel better even when you know you're taking a placebo), generic medicines, explicit and implicit treatment expectations, Breast Implant Illness, health misinformation, and the role of social media in health beliefs and treatment decisions. I take a methodologically-flexible approach, and am open to finding different methods and strategies to better understand these research topics. My work to date uses laboratory-based experimental approaches as well as naturalistic (e.g. social media analyses) and quasi-experimental methods.

02 9065 2497

Imagine if medical side effects were all in your head… turns out more than half of them might be. A lot of people have heard of the placebo effect; where taking a sugar pill can cause healing or health improvements, but far fewer are familiar with the nocebo effect – the dark side of placebo – where an innocent sugar pill can cause serious negative side effects. Research shows most medical side effects are likely to be caused by the nocebo effect, so if the majority of these feelings could be overcome by the simple power of thought, how can medical researchers break this cycle? Health psychologist Kate Faasse’s work explores how to ensure nocebo effects don’t prevent us from getting the right medical treatment.

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This talk was a part of Unthinkable, an event of short talks in the 2022 Festival of Dangerous Ideas.