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Health Psychology Seminars

The Health Psychology section hosts regular open seminars to share the latest research of colleagues within the section and of visiting speakers from other institutions. The seminars are free and open to all staff, students, practitioners and members of the public with an interest in the subject. Seminars run for 1 hour and include an opportunity for the speaker to take questions. Visitors are encouraged to meet our staff and continue the discussions informally over light refreshments after each seminar.


Health Psychology Seminar Room, 5th Floor Bermondsey Wing, Guys Hospital SE1 9RT (entrance via Lifts/Stairs D)
Nearest public transport: London Bridge.



2017/18 Psychology Research Seminars

2017/18 Psychology Research Seminars

Tuesday, 10th October 2017 Prof. Andrew Steptoe "Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Health"
Tuesday, 14th November 2017 Prof. Tamar Pincus "Consultation-based reassurance: what is it and how can it be improved"
Tuesday, 5th December 2017 Prof. Robert West "Where have all the smokers gone? How UK is winning the war on tobacco"
Tuesday, 16th January 2018 Prof. Jill Francis

"Behavioural approaches to implementation research: Developing an evidence base to improve the quality of health care"

Tuesday, 30th January 2018 Prof. Louise Sharp "Modifying cognitive biases: How can we best manipulate attention and interpretation biases to improve pain outcomes?"
Tuesday, 13th February 2018 Dr Sarah Knowles "Learning for, with, and from patients: Patient involvement in knowledge mobilisation in a Learning Health System"
Tuesday, 13th March 2018 Dr Jeremy Howick "The Ethics of Placebo treatments"
Tuesday, 10th April 2018 Dr Molly Byrne



Next Psychology Research Seminar

Tuesday, 13th March 2018

16:30 - 17:30 followed by networking reception until 18:00

Click  here for more information

. Why it can be Ethical to Use Placebos In Clinical Practice

Speaker: Dr Jeremy Howick, Oxford University


Placebo treatments are often prescribed by clinicians. Widespread use, of course, does not imply that such use is ethical, but merely that clinicians appear to be willing to prescribe them in spite of any potential ethical concerns. Placebo treatments are claimed to be unethical for two reasons. First: they are supposedly ineffective (or less effective than ‘real’ treatments), so the ethical requirement of beneficence (and ‘relative’ non-maleficence) makes their use unethical. Second: they allegedly require deception for their use, which violates patient autonomy. Here I will argue that in cases where placebos are effective options and they do not require deception they are arguably ethical. Importantly, questions about the magnitude of placebo effects and about whether placebos require deception are empirical questions with ethical implications rather than purely ethical ones. I will use an increasingly popular method called empirical philosophy to argue that contrary to received wisdom, it is unethical to not use placebos in routine practice.



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