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Funding News - Applications on the Mechanisms of the Placebo Effect Requested

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  • The information on this page is for historical and research purposes only.
  • For the most current NINDS funding announcements, please see the NINDS list of Active Funding Initiatives or Follow Us on Twitter for the latest funding news.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) requests applications for research on the underlying mechanisms of the placebo effect. This announcement is made together with 11 other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).*

The objective of this request for applications (RFA) is to stimulate research to define the underlying mechanisms by which a placebo leads to its ultimate physiological and psychological effects.

Examples of potential areas of research include: investigations on how psychosocial effects that may be related to placebo (such as meaning, personality, social learning, conditioning, expectation, memory, emotion, etc.) may lead to biological changes and eventually to final placebo effects; studies to clarify a related question on how pharmacological or other medical treatments interact with psychosocial effects to enhance placebo responses; investigations to expand placebo research by using the full palette of contemporary biomedical techniques; better animal models to investigate specific types of placebo effects such as those related to analgesia, stress, depression, epilepsy, neurodegenerative disorders, multiple sclerosis, Pavlovian conditioning, expectancy, etc.; studies using human subjects, both healthy volunteers and patients with defined clinical conditions, under controlled situations, to clarify the biological pathways leading to specific placebo responses; and studies to better characterize subjective, conditioned physiological, and neurobiological effects and cognitive expectancies associated with placebos in human drug abusers and in preclinical studies investigating drug abuse and addiction, and to compare these effects produced by placebos with the known effect of drugs of abuse.


For more information, potential applicants should contact Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience Cluster, NINDS, Neuroscience Center, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 2116, Bethesda, MD 20892; telephone: 301-496-9964; fax: 301-402-2060; e-mail:

*For a full list of supporting NIH components and a more detailed description of this RFA, please visit the NIH web site at: