Is there a term that is similar to "placebo" but doesn't imply a medication, simply an imagined effect due to an observed phenomenon?

For example, say I hear someone in my office say they got bedbugs over the weekend and they're covered in bites; it might make my skin crawl and make me itch my own skin. Or if I eat a meal and feel fine but someone who eats the same food feels sick and tells me after the meal, then I may feel sick as well since I'm imagining something was wrong with the food when it actually sat perfectly fine in my stomach.

Is there a word for this?

1 Answer 1


What you're describing is (the power of) suggestion:


2 a : the process by which a physical or mental state is influenced by a thought or idea · the power of suggestion

b : the process by which one thought leads to another especially through association of ideas

trying to influence people's thoughts by using suggestion
The director relies on the power of suggestion rather than explicitly showing the murder.


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