Erik Vance (@erikvance) is an award-winning science journalist and author of Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain’s Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal.
What We Discuss with Erik Vance:
- How the human tendency for patternicity can be used to inoculate ourselves against pain, but also make us believe we’ve been abducted by space aliens.
- The placebo effect vs. the nocebo effect.
- The power of false memories and the “Satanic Panic” phenomenon of the 1980s.
- How our brains twist reality to match expectations, and how it fits into our evolutionary model for survival.
- Why Erik paid a Mexico City witch doctor to curse him — for science!
- And much more…
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For better or worse, the human mind is highly suggestible, leaving us prone to the influence of placebos, hypnosis, and false memories. Whether we like it or not, expectations, beliefs, and self-deception can actively change our bodies and minds. While it’s easy to see how this makes us more susceptible to manipulation against our best interests, this suggestibility can also be leveraged to counteract pain and the effects of disease.
On this episode, we talk to Erik Vance, an award-winning science journalist whose work focuses on the human element of science — the people who do it, those who benefit from it, and those who do not. Over the course of researching his book Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain’s Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal, the Pulitzer Center tells us “he was poked, prodded, burned, electrocuted, hypnotized and even cursed by a witchdoctor, all in the name of science.” Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Miss the show we did with Cesar Millan — the celebrated Dog Whisperer? Catch up here with episode 162: Cesar Millan | Seeing the World from a Dog Whisperer’s Perspective!
THANKS, ERIK VANCE!
If you enjoyed this session with Erik Vance, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain’s Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal by Erik Vance
- Erik Vance | Twitter
- Erik Vance | Instagram
- What is Christian Science? | Christian Science
- Mind Over Matter: Inside the Christian Science Church | Alfie Kohn
- The Matrix | Prime Video
- Gnosticism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Practical Sufism and Philosophical Sufism | International Association of Sufism
- Scientist at Work: Tor Wager — Seeking to Illuminate the Mysterious Placebo Effect | Erik Vance, The New York Times
- 21 Signs You Suffer From Catholic Guilt | Thought Catalog
- What Is the Placebo Effect? | Verywell Mind
- ‘Value’ Wine Holds Its Own in Taste Test | ABC News
- Sour Grapes | Prime Video
- Profile: What is That Smell? | Erik Vance, Nature
- Homeopathy | NHS
- Man on the Moon | Prime Video
- The Weird History of Psychic Surgery in the Philippines | Esquire
- Steve Jobs ‘Regretted Trying to Beat Cancer with Alternative Medicine for So Long’ | The Telegraph
- How Stage Hypnosis Works | Dan LaVelle
- Measuring Hypnosis: Relating the Subjective Experience to Systematic Physiological Changes | Harvard Biorobotics Lab
- Suggestibility Scales | Hypnosis And Suggestion
- Nocebo Effect: How Negative Thinking Influences Health | Verywell Mind
- Mercado de Sonora, Mexico City, Mexico | Atlas Obscura
- Santa Muerte: Saint of the Dispossessed, Enemy of Church and State | The Hemispheric Institute
- What Is Santeria? | Learn Religions
- What You Should Know About Sleep Paralysis | Sleep Foundation
- The History of Satanic Panic in the US — and Why It’s Not Over Yet | Vox
- ‘I Tawt I Taw’ a Bunny Wabbit at Disneyland; New Evidence Shows False Memories Can Be Created | UW News
Transcript for Erik Vance | The Curious Science of the Suggestible You (Episode 461)
Jordan Harbinger: Coming up on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:02] Erik Vance: My favorite one when they do experiments on this is they implant memories by just saying and repeating it over and over again to people about the time they went to Disneyland and met Bugs Bunny. "Took a picture with Bugs Bunny. Remember he was like, put his arm around you. And Bugs Bunny, he was great. It was Mickey and Bugs and they all hung out." And of course, what's wrong with that? He's Warner Bros. So it would be illegal for him to be at Disney World. You know you can't uncover a memory of Bugs at Disney World that didn't happen.
[00:00:25] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets and skills of some of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts and entrepreneurs, spies and psychologists, even the occasional former cult member, billionaire investor, drug trafficker — you get the idea. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:00:55] If you're new to the show or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about the show, we now have episode starter packs. These are collections of your favorite episodes, organized by popular topics to help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start to get started or to help someone else get started with the show. We always appreciate that.
[00:01:16] Today, it's some brain science. Animals create patterns out of nothing because it's helpful for survival. We've talked about this on the show before that the caveman who heard a bush wrestle and assumed it was a lion lived to reproduce and the person who said, "Ah, it's nothing," never, never kind of made it out to evolve to humanity today. We don't use memories or perfect recall. We use what's called patternicity. We create patterns sometimes out of nothing, which is why we believe some stupid things as well. Our brains are actually so suggestible that we can inoculate ourselves against pain, hypnotize ourselves, even implant fake memories, like being abducted by aliens and other craziness.
[00:01:54] Now, there's some other areas where our brains are suggestible. For example, there's studies that show that athletes perform better when they drink Gatorade, even if it's just fake Gatorade, because they think it's going to help them. We've done blind taste tests with Pepsi versus Coke and fine wine versus Two Buck Chuck. And we can convince ourselves that one thing tastes better because we are told that it does. There's also placebo effect that dulls pain. There's the nocebo effect where if you don't do something it's bad luck. And if you need an example, look no further than baseball, where you have to scuff the plates and kick the mud off with your bed, or you're going to strike out. Today, we dive into all this and more, and if you're interested in some of the Easter eggs inside of our own brains, I think you'll really dig this episode.
[00:02:34] And if you're wondering how I managed to book all of these great authors, thinkers, and creators every single week here on the show, it's because of my network. And I want to help you create a network for yourself, whether it's for personal or business reasons. I'm doing it for free. That's my gift to you. That sounds horrible, but it's really true. You don't have to enter your credit card or anything like that. Go to jordanharbinger.com/course and pick it up. It just takes a few minutes a day. And most of the guests you hear on the show, they subscribed to the course in the newsletter. Come join us, you'll be in smart company. Here we go with Erik Vance.
[00:03:06] I know you grew up a Christian scientist. And a lot of people don't know what that is. My family actually had some of those folks on my mom's side, like years and years and years ago. And they were kind of interesting because one particular story, we were all at a restaurant and she picked up a fork — she's like mom's aunt, the Christian scientist — and had like food still stuck to it. You know, like it was pretty gross. And everyone looked at her like what's going to happen? Is she just going to use this fork? Because she doesn't believe in germs or whatever. And I don't think that's exactly what it was, but we kind of assumed that she just didn't believe in germs, which isn't really correct, right?
[00:03:41] Erik Vance: Yeah. I mean, it's actually a really interesting way to grow up and I'm going to totally butcher the beliefs of Christian science here, just so the layman can understand it.
[00:03:49] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:03:49] Erik Vance: But I always kind of think of it as like the Matrix, right? Christian science is fundamentally believed that matter isn't really real. It doesn't really exist. And that there's sort of a higher level beyond that. Like in the Matrix where you had this sort of, you know, this code, that was the higher level. It's kind of like that. In fact, I saw that when I was going to Christian science college and people really liked it. It's not a new idea. Like this goes way back to the Gnostics. And even before that, in Eastern religions, this idea that the physical world isn't real. And that it's a mental construct is very old, but it's kind of that with a Christian spin. And so if you think about it, if this world is all sort of mental construct, fixing things in this physical world is kind of pointless.
[00:04:31] You really have to fix it in the mind. And so it's not that you're not allowed to go to doctors. It's that why would you if none of this is real. You have to fix the mind and then the body has no choice, but to follow. Which is really cool for people our age to think about. It's a little weird when you're five and someone's explaining this to you and you're like, "Oh, okay. So none of this is real?"
[00:04:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:04:56] Erik Vance: Like, "What?"
[00:04:58] Jordan Harbinger: That is weird. But I also understand it because if you think about our position as people — look, you're a scientist, right? And I'm interested in science. If we look at somebody who says, "Yeah, I'm aligning all your chakras and I'm fixing you spiritually," and we're going, "Yo, that's not real. Why are you focused on that? Get a real job, man." You know, we're thinking that.
[00:05:17] Erik Vance: Right.
[00:05:17] Jordan Harbinger: That's what Christian scientists might be thinking about an actual doctor. "Come on. What are you worried about that for?"
[00:05:22] Erik Vance: Right.
[00:05:22] Jordan Harbinger: "This is all just pretend. You got to be focusing on — I don't know — Christianity instead."
[00:05:27] Erik Vance: Yeah. Why are you trying to fix this with a saw? I mean, when you think about it is kind of crazy, you can see why someone might look at modern medicine and be like, "This is insane. Like really this is what you're doing?" And it is very comforting, but as I got older, I kind of had lots of questions. I started experimenting with drugs, like Bayer and aspirin.
[00:05:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, aspirin. Yeah. That's usually what leads to these massive breakthroughs psychologically, right? Tylenol.
[00:05:52] Erik Vance: Oh, it was a big deal though. Like, when I'm like taking like aspirin, I was like, "Oh, I'm like breaking the law." It was this time of sort of, "Wow. This stuff really works." And so I left the religion. You really have to be committed to be in that religion. I mean, you kind of like be all in.
[00:06:05] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, you really meant drugs like Tylenol.
[00:06:06] Erik Vance: Yeah.
[00:06:07] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I thought you were just being funny. I thought you meant you like did like a crazy acid trip and you were like, "Wait a minute. The physical world is definitely real."
[00:06:15] Erik Vance: No, no. I like experimenting with aspirin because it was like, "Oh, maybe, you know, I don't have to heal my own headache. I can just take a pill.
[00:06:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:06:23] Erik Vance: Which was a big deal for me, you know?
[00:06:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that makes sense.
[00:06:25] Erik Vance: And then, you know, obviously I'm a scientist, I'm a biologist, I got very interested in the human body. And I took some courses in EMT type courses and I left the religion, but I was always curious about like, "How would it work?" I knew that it worked to some extent because I had experienced it. And so there was always just like lingering question in the back of my mind about like, "What was happening all those years when I was praying away my pain?"
[00:06:50] Jordan Harbinger: So how did that inform your study of the brain? Because it sounds to many laymen that, "Okay if you're trying to pray away your pain. This is just delusional. You're convincing yourself; you're causing almost mental illness in yourself. This isn't real," but it's not really that, right? This sort of kicked you off on the path to studying what's actually going on in the brain.
[00:07:11] Erik Vance: Yeah. And I would love to take this credit for making that breakthrough, but actually it happened at a conference. It was on brain mapping. It was brain mapping conference and I was a journalist and a young science journalist. And I was looking for interesting stories and I actually saw a name there, Tor Wager. And I recognized it as someone who had gone to this college, I went to this Christian science college. I mean, how many Tor Wager are there in the world?
[00:07:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I don't know. It sounds like a Viking name, honestly.
[00:07:39] Erik Vance: Right. Oh yeah. It sticks in the head. And I looked at this — he was giving a keynote speech and it was about the placebo effect and it just like a light went off in my head. It was like a Catholic looking at a conference about the neuroscience of guilt. I mean, it was just like, "Oh, wow. That former Christian scientist is talking about placebos." So I sat in on that and that it was really looking at other people's work that led me down this path. And I think I have a unique perspective, but you know, this was not me wondering about this. This is me plugging into a community that was just sort of forming of people who were interested in placebos and really saw that placebos were an entry into a much wider world about sort of the mind, mind-body interface. And that's what led me down.
[00:08:25] Jordan Harbinger: And the key to this, this sort of cornerstone of this seems to be the idea of expectation, right? What expectation means, what it does to our brain?
[00:08:33] Erik Vance: Right.
[00:08:33] Jordan Harbinger: Can you tell us a little bit about what this is? How do our brains twist reality to match what we consider to be our expectations?
[00:08:41] Erik Vance: So, I mean, I think the easiest way to describe this is if you were to boil it down, the brain has one job. There's basically one thing that the brain does and that is predict it's a prediction machine. And we know when people are trying to create artificial intelligence, like that's the model they work from. They're going back, you know, 50, 60 years. Philosophers talk about it like that's what the brain does.
[00:09:01] So a prediction is basically taking the past, applying it to the present to predict the future. Anything you're doing anything your brain is doing. It's like, that's basically it. So it's a fundamental part of the brain, like the fundamental part of the brain. And what it's doing is it constantly — I mean, just walking is an exercise in prediction, right? You are assuming that the ground is going to stay hard and you'll be able to walk on it. You're taking all these assumptions. So your brain has this vast store of assumptions and history and experience that it uses to basically navigate the world.
[00:09:33] Can you imagine living in the world without any expectations, like being a baby, like nothing would make sense. Everything would be crazy. A dragon could appear as in the book, with the head of Harvey Keitel. And you’d be like, "Okay, like whatever." Like, you need some sort of experience to tell you what reality is. So what happens is those are expectations and they formed the bedrock of how we operate and what a placebo does. And what arguably a lot of alternative medicine does is it takes those expectations and it flips them on their head. So it makes something you expect to come true — not come true. And the brain is basically, it's like a bureaucrat. It's like some sort of stamping bureaucrat. It doesn't want to make his job any harder than it has to, right? That's the minimum I can do.
[00:10:18] And sometimes it's easier to change reality than it is to change an expectation. So if you take a pill and your brain really thinks that's a painkiller and it's like, "Okay, every time I take the white pill, I feel better." Your brain does not feel better. And it's like, "Okay, well, either I can change my whole expectation about what pills are, or I can just drop some endogenous opioids that I have in my brain and make the pain go away. And then I don't have to change the expectation." You see how that works?
[00:10:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's amazing. So essentially our brain decides that this pill is just going to be what it always expects it to be, even though reality conflicts with it. The brain's like, "Hold on. My coffee hasn't kicked in yet. I'm just going to pretend this is Tylenol."
[00:10:59] Erik Vance: Yes.
[00:11:00] Jordan Harbinger: "That's what I'm going to do right now. We're all going to play a game where this is just Tylenol and I don't have to do any extra work."
[00:11:05] Erik Vance: Right. And it goes one more step more than that. It actually releases drugs to mimic the Tylenol. So gives you that experience because we have all these drugs on hand in our brain. I mean, the only reason that opioids work is because they mimic a chemical that's already in our brain. A lot of drugs will be taken mimicking — work as mimic chemicals in our brain and some of them better or worse than the chemicals that are actually there. But your brain has the ability to release these things.
[00:11:31] So in addition to saying, "Look, I don't want to work any harder than — for me than I have to." Your brain then goes, "Okay, let's just drop out some opioids will feel better. Reality continues to go on as I expect it to." Of course, if you did this every day, eventually your brain would start thinking like, "Okay, maybe a little white pills don't do what I thought they did." And then expectations do change. And you can sort of change your brain's fundamental, like map of the world, but you know, not all at once. And that's actually where there's really interesting questions about like how those change and why and whether or not these placebos can just continue on. And that's kind of stuff we don't know yet.
[00:12:05] Jordan Harbinger: That's interesting. Okay. So we have this like expectation pharmacy. That's at our disposal that our brain is doing — obviously this is all subconscious. This is not something where — this isn't something that I can necessarily decide to make work for me right away, right?
[00:12:20] Erik Vance: That's a great point. So first of all, I should say that there are many placebo effects. There actually ends up — like, one of them is just a regression to the mean, which is I take a drug when I'm feeling the worst. And when you're feeling the worst, what comes after — less worse. Those aren't as interesting as like this one that I'm talking about, this is chemical placebo. So there are lots of different kinds of placebo effects and they all kind of have the same thing, which is, "I feel better." But one way to break them down, especially the most interesting ones, is conscious and unconscious.
[00:12:48] So an unconscious placebo would be like taking that pill that you've taken your whole life and your brain just does what it's going to do. And sometimes you can even give people a placebo pill, say this is a placebo pill. This does not have anything in it, but it has been shown to help people. And then ask them, "What is this?" And they say, "Okay, this is a placebo pill." Everyone gets it, you take it and it still works. That doesn't happen for lots of people, but there is a pretty consistent group of people who still feel better. That's an unconscious placebo, your brain just isn't going to change the way it sees the little white pill.
[00:13:21] Then there's a conscious placebo. This is where you start getting into storytelling. And this is where you start seeing like, someone's spin just a wonderful tale about cosmic rays and chakras and ancient mysticism and space-age technology, and you get caught up in it. Then you take this therapy or do whatever this magical thing is that you're trying and you feel better because your brain is sort of in one over on a conscious level, like, wow. Your body has all his energy and you can focus that energy. That's a different kind of placebo effect. And it looks like it happens in slightly different ways in the brain. There's actually two different sort of pathways that those two placebos seem to follow. So you have a choice, some placebos you can kind of control and some you absolutely can't.
[00:14:06] And so when people always say like, "Look, I'm not gullible, but like I can make sure it really works." It's like, okay, first of all, yes, you are gullible. So am I, so is that guy, we all are. Like, none of us are somehow seeing the field for what it really is. And second of all, no, you know, it doesn't really do anything.
[00:14:23] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:14:24] Erik Vance: But that story resonates and sometimes they can interact. Like sometimes you hear the story, you start taking the thing and it keeps working and then you get that unconscious placebo going. There's a lot going on there. And we still haven't really pulled it all apart as in the field of science.
[00:14:35] Jordan Harbinger: Is this why some people think that expensive mumbo-jumbo is more effective than less expensive mumbo-jumbo because I'm invested like, "No, my tarot card reader is awesome, but she's like $500 an hour. Your $50 one may be less accurate because mine is more," and meanwhile, it's just me turning that placebo, whatever up to 11 in my head.
[00:14:57] Erik Vance: 100 percent. That's a really great point. And they've shown this again and again in laboratory experiments, where if you pay more for a placebo, it works better. It's really cool because you can make placebos work better by making them expensive. It's also really evil because people can then take it to the next level and charge thousands of dollars. And I have talked to people who spent their life-savings chasing cures that were never going to happen. If you are Angelina Jolie or some movie star, you can afford to spend thousands, thousands of dollars for a placebo, but other people then see that same thing and they can't.
[00:15:31] There are some places where this gets really, really rough and pretty bad. But yeah, the fact is the brain responds well to higher prices and the same can be said of food enjoyment, like wines. This has been shown again and again, that when you price wines, higher people like them more, and it's not that they're necessarily lying to themselves about their taste experience. They very likely are having a different taste experience. You know, so much of the taste experience is from your brain's interpretation of it. And your brain has a lot of leeway in what it can make tastes better to you. So it may not be that do you think it tastes better, it might actually taste better.
[00:16:08] Jordan Harbinger: Have you seen that documentary Sour Grapes where the guy turns out to just be dumping random, crappy wines into bottles in his kitchen and he's sharing these bottles of wine and he's like, "Yeah, this is a $4,000 bottle of like something, something, whatever, from Germany, 1944." And all of these, like kind of d-bag Hollywood guys who pay $20,000 for bottles of scotch and wine—
[00:16:31] Erik Vance: Right.
[00:16:31] Jordan Harbinger: —are like, "Oh, it's unbelievable, impeccable." So I thought, look at these guys, lie to themselves. But what you're saying is no, the brain has just decided that this is better because they've programmed it to say that.
[00:16:41] Erik Vance: I mean, your brain has a lot of like dopamine and even the way you experience it — and this has not been studied. We know about dopamine, but like looking at the way the different chemicals are experienced on the tongue going through, you know, how your brain processes them, and how expectation affects that on a really mechanical level. I don't think we really understand, but it is — we know enough to say there's a good chance that that person actually is getting what they're paid for. Like by paying more, it actually tastes better because their brain is experiencing it differently. And I think when you see this kind of thing, like there's always this cutoff, like you can't give someone vinegar and be like, Oh my God, it's great wine. Like, it needs to be close, but your brain can make up the extra. And it's fun to think of people as being idiots and having terrible wine. But in fact, they might be having wonderful wine that if you tasted would not be wonderful because your brain is not doing the same thing.
[00:17:30] Jordan Harbinger: So this when someone says something like, "Oh, there's tobacco and cherry and hints of chocolate," and we go, "I do taste that." And it's like, "Well, do you?" I mean, at first I thought you don't and you're just telling yourself you do, but it sounds like what you're saying is, no, your brain is just going to go, "Okay. I can do chocolate. I can do cherry. I can do hints of tobacco. I've got all that in my repertoire. I can make this guy taste it if that's what he wants to do right now."
[00:17:53] Erik Vance: Okay. Yes and no. I should say one of my first stories for the journal Nature that I did many years ago, I actually went and talked to an analytical chemist who studied — can I swear on your show?
[00:18:03] Jordan Harbinger: Absolutely.
[00:18:04] Erik Vance: He studied pig shit. I think he called them like fermentation matrices, organic fermentation matrices, something like that, but it was pig shit. And why they smell bad specifically. And he had this amazing, it was called a multi-dimensional gas chromatography-mass spec-olfactometer.
[00:18:20] Jordan Harbinger: Wow, that's a lot of words for a shit meter.
[00:18:22] Erik Vance: Yes. It is a lot of words for a shit meter. I mean, I got one, obviously, in my garage right now.
[00:18:27] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:18:28] Erik Vance: Who doesn't? But this thing basically would take out complex chemical, chop it up into pieces and then give you each piece one at a time, both through a mass spec, which gives you a readout and up your nose, which would read. And so you're basically getting the pieces of things you would do like wine and they would also do pig shit. And what's amazing about wine is when you break it up into pieces, all those flavors actually are there and you can smell them.
[00:18:47] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:18:47] Erik Vance: Yeah, one at a time. You're like, "Oh my God, that's—" He had one that was like taco shell. And this is like just a smell that is in a lot of different things. And you recognize to be like, "Oh, yeah—"
[00:18:56] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:18:56] Erik Vance: What cardboards are in there? There's a bunch of different things, a lot of flowery stuff, and they're actually all in there. And then obviously pig shit has its own little group of chemicals, not as pleasant.
[00:19:08] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. So it's not that there's taco shell and tobacco and cherry in the wine. It's just those flavors, it might be like a color like red is in something. And it doesn't matter if the red is in blood or if the red is in the sky.
[00:19:22] Erik Vance: Right.
[00:19:22] Jordan Harbinger: It's just a chemical makeup — well, a color is not it's light, but like this is a chemical makeup. So we know it is cherry, but it occurs everywhere in nature.
[00:19:31] Erik Vance: Right.
[00:19:31] Jordan Harbinger: And it's not necessarily just cherry. It's just that cherries maybe have more of that chemical. So you can have wine or pig crap. And that pig might never have had a cherry in its life.
[00:19:40] Erik Vance: Right.
[00:19:40] Jordan Harbinger: But there it is cherry-flavored pig shit.
[00:19:43] Erik Vance: I mean, organic chemistry class, one of the first things you do is you make the flavor banana, but you don't use any bananas.
[00:19:48] Jordan Harbinger: That's cool.
[00:19:48] Erik Vance: You know, these chemicals exist in and when you get the fermentation — I mean, pig shit and wine are actually very similar because they're both fermentations. It's just that one's organized and one's really not. And so these chemicals can just occur by mixing different stuff together. I mean, these guys actually have this wheel of the other colors, but there are supposed to be tastes. And, you know, you sort of can pick along the spectrum of like, "Oh—," and they're really good. I mean, I, you know, I could just get the basics, but he could like pick up all these little notes.
[00:20:14] So there's that, but then you add into that what your brain is doing to that experience and the brain is fooling itself and your brain can — I mean, we can all have visual and audio hallucinations. Well, I mean, there's no reason why we wouldn't have taste hallucinations to some extent. I haven't seen a lot of work on it, but it's an interesting idea, right? But your brain can definitely tweak the experience. So you have these complex chemicals and then you have this brain experience and it's really hard to figure out what's real at the end of the day. Because there could be a chemical in there, or it could be something that your brain is imagining, but when you're imagining it in a very. — you know, when it comes to expectation in a very deep way, it's happening. There is no separation between what's really happening and what's imagined because your brain can make it happen. You can taste that smoked whatever tobacco or whatever, even if it's not there, if your brain can create it.
[00:21:04] Jordan Harbinger: That's incredible. That's incredible. It's almost like there's an analogy here. I'm not quite getting it. But since we know that vision is entirely created in our brain, right? Our sight is one thing, but it's just photons and things like that. But vision, things we see are created in our brain. It sounds like taste is similar and maybe smell also is similar where we're getting chemicals that are getting attached to receptors in our nose and whatnot. But then our brain says, "That's a cherry." Because our nose isn't going, that's a cherry. Our brain is just deciding that that's what a cherry smells like, I guess. I don't know.
[00:21:35] Erik Vance: That's an interesting thought. I don't know that for a fact. I think that it is an interesting way to sort of approach that question. This kind of stuff hasn't been studied as much. There's not a lot of reason to study, like taste specifically. Taste and smell don't get as much attention.
[00:21:49] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:21:49] Erik Vance: But the people who study placebos, especially some of the earlier ones, like in the late '90s and early 2000s, a lot of them came from areas where they looked at perception and visual perception. And when you talk about vision, there is a lot that leads from the way your brain processes what it sees to the way expectations are created. And you think about illusion, you know, I mean, a lot of this has ties with illusion and I ended up actually speaking to some magicians and hypnotists for the book. Not because they necessarily have a scientific perspective on this, but a lot of them have a really good gut sense of expectation.
[00:22:23] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:22:23] Erik Vance: You can create a lot of really interesting visual hallucinations through tweaking expectations. The way your brain is used to seeing things. A lot of these weird things that play with what you're seeing, it's just playing with your expectations. So in that way, that's how that ties in is your brain gets a lot of information and that it has to sort through it. And it has to create, always has to create expectations in order to function. You can't just come into everything new. It's like people coming into politics or religious discussion and thinking they're not carrying any baggage from the rest of their life.
[00:22:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, like, "I'm entering this relationship with an open mind. I'm definitely not—"
[00:23:00] Erik Vance: Right.
[00:23:00] Jordan Harbinger: "—going to be suspicious of all the things you do that I was suspicious about my last girlfriend doing," or whatever, right?
[00:23:05] Erik Vance: Right.
[00:23:05] Jordan Harbinger: Like it's not realistic.
[00:23:06] Erik Vance: But that's the fundamental working of the brain. Like the brain uses everything it knows and then creates reality. And so, for you to be like, "Oh, I am the only one who's entering this relationship with a totally clean slate," or, "I'm the only one who can look at this new alternative medicine with a clear perspective," you're kidding yourself. Of course, your brain is constantly working off of its history and it sets expectations.
[00:23:31] Jordan Harbinger: You mentioned that the more we invest in something or you didn't put it in exactly those terms, but we talked about the wine and the expensive wine. The more expensive it is, the better your taste experience, things like that. So does that follow then, that let's say a pill placebo is maybe less effective than and injection? Or if we're doing a treatment, me rubbing on your shoulders might be less effective than me being like, "Oh, you got to go into that giant MRI machine and we've got wire electrodes to you." Is that more powerful? Maybe? Like what about suppositories? Asking for a friend.
[00:24:05] Erik Vance: If your friend is French, then yes. Suppositories will be more effective placebo.
[00:24:10] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:24:11] Erik Vance: For some reason, a lot of this stuff gets into some sort of fun, interesting stuff, but yes, they have compared different placebos against each other. And for some reason in France, suppositories are more effective than—
[00:24:20] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I thought you were kidding.
[00:24:21] Erik Vance: No.
[00:24:21] Jordan Harbinger: Is that really true? That's funny.
[00:24:22] Erik Vance: That's a real thing in Britain, foul-tasting placebos are more effective than nice tasting ones. Generally speaking, placebo injections are more effective than pills. Sham surgeries are more effective than all of them. Sham surgery if you can get someone to fake a surgery with you, you're in a much better position. The classic one is Parkinson's. They look at Parkinson's and they measure sort of how much people are able to improve their range of motion. And when you compare people who take placebo — because Parkinson's is a disease, that's a chronic deficiency in dopamine and dopamine is the reward chemical in the brain. And so it's all about expectation. It's a really highly placebo prone condition. And so if you give someone a pill and tell them it's going to cure their Parkinson's, it's not nearly as effective as if you give them a surgery, which again, isn't doing anything, but then you see, "Oh, this is going to do some magical thing for you." And you see just much better progress in terms of therapy than with the pill.
[00:25:19] And it gets back to the thing I talked about earlier, which is the storytelling, which is also the theater around it. I mean, if you're doing a Sham surgery, you're going to also have to do checkups. When scientists are evaluating any surgery, there's usually a sham or placebo surgery component. And the doctors don't know which person got which. So everyone gets to go through the whole follow-up checkups and they do the, you know, whatever else is involved. And they got people looking at them and they're getting a lot of attention. All these things increase the placebo response because it's a matter of theater and it's creating expectations. And so it makes sense.
[00:25:51] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger show with our guest Erik Vance. We'll be right back.
[00:25:58] This episode is sponsored in part by BiOptimizers. I don't need to tell you how important a strong immune system is right now especially. you got to take care of that body, given the global health crisis that's spreading across the planet. P3OM are probiotics that improve your digestion and nutrient absorption, helping ensure your digestive tract, and immune system stay strong and stay healthy. Obviously, it's not a cure all. But many other probiotics market, they don't even survive your own stomach acid. P3OM is fully tested to make sure that the probiotic strains not only survive in your body, but they also don't compete with each other causing a battle of epic proportions right there in your gut. The idea here is to protect yourself from the growth of bad bacteria and other pathogens. And while other probiotics require refrigeration, they often die in transport or even on the shelf. P3OM doesn't require refrigeration at all.
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[00:27:56] Jordan Harbinger: Now back to Erik Vance on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:28:02] This does make sense. And it sort of shed some light on things like homeopathy, right? Where the more you dilute it, the more powerful it is. And it's like what? That doesn't make any sense to anybody who knows anything about science. But then when we look at it from a storytelling perspective, It's like, okay, well, fine. Homeopathic stuff might work because we said it's going to, right? Is that kind of what's going on there?
[00:28:23] Erik Vance: In the book, I talked to a woman, Natalie Grams. She's a German doctor who got into homeopathy and got out of it. And she had a really interesting take on it. One of, one of her takeaways was. She was just so impressed by how much time homeopaths had with their patients. They had hours to talk about these issues and get to the heart of what's going on in someone's experience. And as a doctor, you get 10 minutes. And so that's a huge part — you don't see a lot of drive-thru solace alternative medicine.
[00:28:58] I did go to one to an acupuncture ER or hospital in China. And that was kind of interesting because you're not really used to that kind of like, "Oh yeah, we're just going to stick a bunch of needles in you and get out the door." But generally speaking, alternative and tends to be a lot more interpersonal. There's a lot more time.
[00:29:12] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:29:12] Erik Vance: That feeds the placebo response. It also feeds the placebo response in real medicine. Real medicine also relies on placebos. There's no reason why a real doctor or a medical doctor can't also use placebos by taking time and talking to people and getting to know them, but that's something you see, I think for sure in alternative medicine.
[00:29:30] The second thing that this woman took away from this was really tapping into people's histories. So like one of her patients had fled Nazi Germany in the snow and she had these powerful memories of cold and she was having trouble leaving the house. She was sort of shut in. And she prescribed her liquid snow, which is known as—
[00:29:52] Jordan Harbinger: Water.
[00:29:53] Erik Vance: Yes.
[00:29:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:29:54] Erik Vance: Yes.
[00:29:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, okay.
[00:29:55] Erik Vance: It wasn't even hyper like diluted. It had just formerly been frozen and was now not frozen. And the fact that knowledge that it had been like snow and that she was connecting to her inner history. That changed women's life around, and I'm not going to pretend like she was not incredibly helped if not healed through this process. Like these things have value. You know, she's able to leave the house and whenever she gets nervous, she just drinks some of her melted snow. She was able to connect on something very deep and tap into that expectation.
[00:30:23] So I don't want to come off as saying, you know, alternative medicines are useless. Well, I would say they're very easy to take advantage of, and it's very easy to use to take advantage of other people, but this is how your brain works. Like this is what we're stuck with.
[00:30:37] Jordan Harbinger: It reminds me of that movie with, I think it's Jim Carrey playing the comedian, Andy Kaufman. I don't know if you've seen it. It's an older movie. And he had cancer or something, so he flies to like Cambodia to get — you know, where the healer like rubs your belly a lot and then pulls out your cancer but it's just chicken guts that they have hidden up their sleeve.
[00:30:55] Erik Vance: Yeah.
[00:30:55] Jordan Harbinger: He sort of sees the sleight of hand trick and he starts laughing because it's this like tragic comic thing. So that's where you cross the line, right? Because no matter what kind of placebo you have, you can maybe use it to alleviate a little pain, but you're not getting your cancer pulled out by this person. They're just throwing chicken guts out of their sleeve.
[00:31:11] Erik Vance: So this is one of the most interesting things with placebos is that they don't affect everything the same. They don't affect every person the same. So this is what makes them very difficult to understand, but it also makes it much more interesting. If placebo is always affected, like say 30 percent of the population, no matter what you did, that would be very dull. What happens is certain conditions like Parkinson's pain, anxiety, stomach issues like irritable bowel syndrome is a classic, maybe there's a few autoimmune diseases sometimes. And there's a few others that are like, addiction is kind of a little tougher to understand, but those there's this core group of conditions, usually chronic, where placebos are really effective. Then you look at something, so you've got like anxiety or depression and it's just very high placebo. And then you'll get something like obsessive compulsive disorder and the placebo rates are a lot lower, or you look at something like Alzheimer's disease versus Parkinson's, and it's much, much lower. Because the chemistry that's involved in Alzheimer's disease just doesn't lend itself to the various things that your brain has on hand to alleviate these conditions. Whereas these other ones do.
[00:32:16] So what that means is there are certain things for which placebos are very effective and there are certain things that aren't. And the really diabolical part of this is when you look at cancer, placebos are very effective at treating all the symptoms of cancer, pain, nausea, even depression, for a lot of people. They're not effective against tumors as far as we know. Your brain just doesn't — we know that your brain just doesn't have a mechanism by which it can through expectation, make the tumor go away. So what you end up with is people who can sell you drugs that make you feel better or placebos that make you feel better, but are actually not doing anything.
[00:32:54] I mean, Steve Jobs is kind of—
[00:32:56] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:32:56] Erik Vance: —an example of that. I mean, I don't know what his experience was, but it's something that people point to as like, look here's someone, it was his second run with cancer. It was always going to be difficult, but here's someone who may have had an easier time with the symptoms at the end, but the juice cleanse that he was taking, you know, it was never going to affect the cancer. And what's sad about these people is a lot of them spend a lot of money trying to cure the cancer. And at the end, they ended up in the hospital with doctors who are oncologists at this point, it's too late and there's not much they can do.
[00:33:30] When you talk to some of these doctors, I talked to some of them in my book, you know, what are you going to do? This person has spent nine months taking some sort of fringe therapy. And now they're in the hospital and these things will get recorded as having died in the hospital and modern medicine has failed this person. There's no method to track. How many people start out for however many months trying something else. And at the end of the day, you know, they end up in the same place.
[00:33:52] So this is where you have to go into the, like a placebo half believing it, but also making sure that you're not going to endanger yourself, your pocket book or the world, if someone's going to be promising tiger penis or whatever. You have to trust but verify. Like there's, there's this line to walk because you can benefit from placebos. And to say, "Oh, I'm only going to rely on things that are completely evidence-based," is silly. We all have our little things that we like and these things — you know, even fizzy drinks when I have a cold, that always makes me feel better. You're always going to have these things that you just believe work. And the key is to not go too deep and to always be cautious if someone says, take this and not conventional medicine. That's the one that I really have to watch out for. If someone's like, "Look, the only way this works is if you ignore all other forms of care," and there are people who really caused people to die as a result of this.
[00:34:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. That is a shame. You would think that people who sell sham, placebo stuff would also want you to be doing modern medicine so that they could say, "Look, I cured you. It probably wasn't that surgery you had, probably what really was the magic echinacea or whatever roots that have been selling you." But I guess if they really believe in it, then they wouldn't do that, right? So it's almost like maybe they also believe in this.
[00:35:10] Erik Vance: It's a very, it's a very difficult world. It's a world I spent a lot of time sort of getting into and trying to understand. Yes, a lot of these therapies you see, and a lot of these testimonials to see online — people will say these things saved their life. They will not mention that they were also getting traditional or conventional therapy. They won't mention the chemotherapy that we're getting at the same time and this happens all the time.
[00:35:31] I know someone who swears that — I don't want to out this person but as far as there's an alternative therapy that helped him with his cancer. At the same time he was getting traditional or conventional therapy. So it's like we have these stories, we tell ourselves and these stories are very important. I mean, they are ourselves by some measures. And so if someone tried some sort of therapy and then was also getting chemotherapy, of course, they're going to look to the thing that really had their passion.
[00:35:59] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Like, "It's the goat yoga that cured me. It's not the chemo. I'm sure it was the goat yoga."
[00:36:04] Erik Vance: Exactly. That there's a darker side. One of the things we haven't talked about is the power of groups. There's some really interesting experiments. They've done looking at how peer pressure affects placebos. And when you get people in groups, you do start seeing these magnifier effects. And so there are people who lead groups, there are there's group thinking. There's a lot of things that can lead people to say, "Just do this. Don't trust the doctors. Doctors don't want you to know about this. This is the clicks, classically. Do the thing that doctors don't want you to know about."
[00:36:38] I've never met a doctor who was like, "Oh, this person can't get better on some other therapy. They have to get better on what I'm giving them." Come on. What kind of doctors are you talking about?
[00:36:47] Jordan Harbinger: They let their own kids die of something horrible because big pharma took them on a golf trip like that doesn't really add up folks.
[00:36:53] Erik Vance: There are a lot of interesting dynamics here. And when you start looking at big pharma and placebos, there's a lot of really interesting overlaps. But generally speaking, you have to be very careful when someone says, "Just trust us. Don't trust anyone else," and in my work and my experience, it does tend to be more in group related placebo or whether you want to call it a cult. Or when there's sort of a community to — even one that you're not really a part of, but it's like this global community around one homeopathy, in some cases can be like this where people will say, "Look, you know, these traditional medicine or conventional medicines will counteract. They'll get in the way." I think it's more a result of the community aspect. And what's interesting about that is it does magnify placebos. So if you were to create your own placebo, you'd probably want to have a community around it.
[00:37:44] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. Yeah. I always figured that's why hypnosis on stages worked because nobody wants to be the person up there that's like, "You all are acting like chickens. I don't feel anything." They're just like, "Okay." Cluck, cluck, cluck —- I've never been able to get hypnotized. So maybe I'm a little biased, but I always just figured like, "Hey, what percentage of those people are just pretending. It's got to be half." I don't know.
[00:38:04] Erik Vance: Well, I have a chapter on hypnosis. It's very different from placebo. I should say. If you give someone the same Narcan, basically the same drug you take when you're having an overdose or like an opioid. If you give that to someone having a placebo effect, the placebo effect goes away like a pain placebo effect.
[00:38:17] Jordan Harbinger: Oh wow.
[00:38:17] Erik Vance: If you give that to someone who's feeling less pain because we have noticed it doesn't. So hypnosis has a different mechanism. That's something we figured out, but there's a lot of overlap. And so I do get into hypnosis. And one of the things I do is I did talk to a few stage hypnotists. And one thing I learned is they are very good at a few things. And one of them is spotting people who are hypnotizable in a group. They're very good at finding hypnotizable people. The second thing they're really good at is finding someone who is not hypnotizable, but who will not go against the crowd. Like someone will walk like a chicken just because they don't want to be like — like they find someone who's malleable.
[00:38:51] And one of the tricks that I heard about was if you see someone walking and be like, "Okay, we're going to get 10 people up on stage. Come on up." And if you see the person was like laughing and making jokes, and then as soon as the light hits them and they're on stage, they get really quiet. That's someone who you can probably, if you can't hypnotize him, you can probably fake it.
[00:39:06] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:39:07] Erik Vance: Yeah. The thing with stage hypnosis is that it's not really hypnosis. There are elements of hypnosis, but it's really a lot of stagecraft. There are illusion techniques using some stage hypnosis acts where like you're seeing a magic show. There are a lot more tricks. So it's not really hypnosis. You can't snap your fingers and hypnotize someone. You also can't hypnotize someone against their will. Not real hypnosis but you can fake it. And that is something — you know, you're walking into their world and there are elements of real hypnosis and stage hypnotism, but it's a show. Just like the magician is not really cutting someone in half. People aren't really getting hypnotized, but sometimes these are often skilled hypnotists working. That's what's interesting. There's this interplay there. Real hypnosis happens with a lot of trust, some time, and someone who's really skilled. And you do have to be careful because you are mocking the brain a little bit. And so you want someone — I always tell people if you're going to get a hypnotist, you want to find someone who's got a degree in something else also. Like you don't want to find someone who's just hypnotist. There's no certification process for hypnosis.
[00:40:07] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I see. So find somebody who's certified for something else. That's actually somewhat related to it. And also uses that as a technique. It's like when you find a lawyer, you don't just find somebody who specializes in getting people out of jail. You want somebody who's a lawyer that can also help you get out of prison.
[00:40:22] Erik Vance: Exactly. Yeah. It's an interesting area. It's an issue. I actually tried hypnosis. I tried getting hypnotized. I'm not good at either one, but it's very interesting, I think, understudied and really it's sad. It's got a very interesting history if you look at the history of hypnosis. We're getting off track a little bit here, but you know, it's one of the oldest psychological phenomena we've ever studied. We still don't know much about it and it's really interesting. And there's some crazy stories.
[00:40:45] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, it's one of those things that's always sort of interested me and I've always tried to have it done to me and I've always gone, like, "Hey, this doesn't work." And then the people are like, "Oh, you're resisting it." And I'm like, "No, you don't get it. I want this to work for me. I would love for this to work to me. Are you kidding? This is like the coolest thing ever. Can you make me not afraid of speaking in front of large crowds of people? Or like in college, can you make me like really confident with women? Like what's going on? I would love for this to be able to work for me." And they're like, "No, no, you just want to be right." And I'm like, "I really don't want to be right that this isn't work. You know, trust me. I want to be wrong in my entire life about one thing. This is probably it."
[00:41:20] Erik Vance: That's one of the exciting things about hypnosis is that there's a hypnotizability scale. It's called the Stanford Scale. There's actually a couple of scales. They're not perfect, but they're rough measurements of how hypnotizable you are. I'm low. I think I'm a three out of 12. And if you're a three, your experience is so different from someone who's an 11. Like if someone's up in a higher area, like you can give them hallucinations, you can make them see things they don't actually see. You can make them forget the things that happened. You just can't — and to some extent, those are the lucky people, because they do have this tool you're talking about. They can access their brain in a way that we can't. What causes this? I would love to have an answer to like exactly why people are hypnotizable.
[00:41:55] Generally, it's said that your hypnotizability stays the same throughout your life. Now, there's some people I've talked to who say that actually that's not true and just has been studied enough, but that you could maybe move your hypnotizability up if you worked on it. But generally speaking, there's just some people — and this is where this problem comes with hypnosis because you know, as a patient, if you don't have it, it's just going to seem silly.
[00:42:14] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:42:15] Erik Vance: And then as a practitioner, you can treat one person and literally see what almost seems like a miracle from hypnosis, and then turn around to the exact same thing to someone else and get nothing. You know, some of the guys that I talked to, the people I talked to who were who really dedicated their lives to this, it can be almost maddening because you know you've got something. You know you're studying something really powerful and interesting, and then it just falls flat because the person isn't hypnotizable.
[00:42:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:42:40] Erik Vance: And so there are some really interesting ways that they're coming up with to maybe use virtual reality to sort of standardize hypnosis and so you don't have to worry about the hypnotist end and just study the people being hypnotized. But we need to spend a lot more time and money on figuring out what the heck is going on.
[00:42:58] Jordan Harbinger: You're right. That those people are in a different world and they are the lucky ones. Because imagine you're like, "Oh, I just can't stop eating sweet stuff. I have a sweet tooth." You go to somebody and they're like — my mom did this a long time ago. And she was in a class with somebody and one of the women in the class, they said like, "Imagine pouring a whole container of maple syrup in your mouth," and the woman was like disgusted by this. Right? Because that was the idea. And I'm butchering this because I wasn't there, but later on, the woman was like, "I have no trouble not eating sweets because I just imagined like my mouth full of this maple syrup and I don't want anything to do with it. And it just seems disgusting to me." And my mom's like, "Yeah, I ate a whole bag of cookies last week. So this shit doesn't work for me." You know, it was like a completely different effect from her and this other woman who like she bought a CD and went home and lost 30 pounds. And my mom's like, "Yeah, where are the Oreos?"
[00:43:46] Erik Vance: Yeah. I mean, that's interesting about all of this stuff. The placebo question is actually a lot murkier because people do not have that sort of consistency in terms of having placebo effects. But there does seem to be a difference. Some people seem to be more suggestible. They're not necessarily also hypnotizable; those two things are separate. But there are people who seem to respond better to placebos and there are people who definitely respond to hypnosis better.
[00:44:11] And we kind of looked down on these people a little bit. I think, the society is like you always want to be the one who's not fooled, but if you are placebo prone, which again, it's tough to tell who those people are. Or if you're hypnotizable, you're lucky you have these access to these tools, these internal tools that you can make your life better. You also have to worry out, worry about nocebos and bad suggestions. Now, those aren't necessarily connected, but I would say one of the big take homes is that if you can fool your own mind through your expectations, good on you.
[00:44:45] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I'm curious about nocebo, which is like placebo's ugly sister or brother. Got to stay woke you all but like this nocebo doesn't mean that placebo doesn't work. Right? If that's what I thought it meant. It actually means it causes harm or I will harm. Can you talk about what this is? Because that is sort of the flip side of this that can actually be dangerous for people.
[00:45:04] Erik Vance: Right. If a placebo is an expectation of something good is happening and nocebo is an expectation of something bad happening — more pain, not less pain. Well, I mean, the thing that comes up a lot, and whenever you start looking at this is curses. Placebo pills do have side effects. So if you're giving a thousand people, either a drug or a placebo, and the drug has side effects, while you will see. People in the placebo group, also having side effects and those are nocebos. Those are someone whose stomach gets upset or gets headaches after taking a placebo pill because they expected it. These are harder to study because you can't walk up to a Parkinson's patient and be like, "Here's a pill that's going to make your Parkinson's worse." There's a lot of things that just, aren't very ethical if you wanted to study nocebos.
[00:45:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Maybe don't read the side effects, but that's kind of bad, right? Like, "Hey, there's a lot of things that can go wrong with this drug." "Hold on. I don't want to know about any of that."
[00:45:55] Erik Vance: Right.
[00:45:55] Jordan Harbinger: "Just give me the pill." Not really a good way to go about medical treatment either.
[00:45:59] Erik Vance: Yeah. It's very interesting — and you know, like you can find nocebos anywhere. It doesn't have to be on the label. I think a lot of Christian scientists have when they go into medical experiences have bad experiences because they've heard these horror stories. I mean, Christian science ideas tend to throw around some horror stories about going to hospitals and dying, which are true, but this is something that's never been studied. But I think, in my experience, the community that I grew up in, like a lot of people had bad medical experiences because of negative expectations, partly. But the thing that we do know, even though we can't study nocebos very easily is that they are easier to create and they do last longer. Those are two things that we found when you compare them in laboratories. You do see that they have these really interesting effects.
[00:46:44] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Erik Vance. We'll be right back.
[00:46:49] This episode is sponsored in part by LifeLock. Scammers are using news of the second stimulus to steal Americans personal information. You saw that comment, right? Some common scams include offers to get your payment faster, fake checks, unsolicited messages by somebody claiming to be from the IRS. Links within these emails or text messages can be dangerous malware or phishing scams. So tell your parents, but pay attention yourself as well. It is important to understand how cybercrime and identity theft are affecting our lives and the lives of those we love. Everyday we're putting information out on the Internet. In an instant, a cybercriminal can take what's yours, your savings, your credit, your reputation. That's why we use LifeLock. I've been using it for a while. When I separated from my former business, I was worried about personal information leaking. LifeLock detects a wide range of identity threats, like your social security number for sale on the dark web. And if they detect your information has potentially been compromised, they send you an alert. Also, if anything does happen, God forbid, you have access to a dedicated restoration specialist if you become a victim. Look, no one can prevent all identity theft or monitor all transactions at all businesses at all times that goes without saying. Join now and save up to 25 percent off your first year. Go to lifelock.com/jordan. That's lifelock.com/jordan for 25 percent off.
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[00:49:02] Jordan Harbinger: Thanks so much for listening to the show. Thanks for just supporting the advertisers. That's why, you know, I'm able to do this for a living and keep bringing this to you. If you want to check out all the deals and everything you've heard on the show, go to jordanharbinger.com/deals. That's where all the sponsors are. All the codes are. Please do consider supporting those who support us and make this possible. And don't forget, we have worksheets for these episodes. All the good takeaways are on there. If you want some of the drills, the exercises, everything we talked about here on the show, they're all in one easy place. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. Now, for the conclusion of our episode with Erik Vance.
[00:49:39] We're wired for fear on a very basic level, right? Nature favors the cautious and natural selection, I should say, favors the cautious. So maybe nocebo is easier to trigger because it keeps us alive, possibly. I don't know. I'm stretching on that one probably.
[00:49:54] Erik Vance: It's really hard to know how we evolve and how placebos evolved. Animals do get placebos, babies get placebos. They do seem to be very fundamental. But that would make sense that caution and fear and negative expectations would be evolutionarily useful. At the same time, getting better by taking nothing is also really evolutionary useful. If you have a bunch of people — cavemen sitting around a campfire and one of them who's sprained his ankle can eat grass and feel better and go hunting the next day. Like, that's a good thing, right? Like this is placebos or they definitely have a use and they definitely evolved. And a lot of animals have them, we think
[00:50:32] Jordan Harbinger: I heard you got cursed by a witch doctor on purpose. Not many people do that. What's going on there?
[00:50:37] Erik Vance: Well, at the time I wrote the book I was living in Mexico City. I got very interested in curses.
[00:50:41] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Santa Muerte type stuff.
[00:50:43] Erik Vance: Ah, yeah. You know, Santa Muerte — Santeria is very popular. Santa Muerte is a little different in Mexico, but like—
[00:50:50] Jordan Harbinger: That's like some drug cartel stuff.
[00:50:51] Erik Vance: Yeah. It's a whole, it's a whole cult of Christianity, that's sort of its own thing, but Santeria is sort of borrowed from Cuba and similar traditions around the Caribbean and it's been embraced in Mexico. Mexico, there's a lot of blending, they also blend a lot of very traditional beliefs that may go all the way back to the MesoAmericans. I was just interested in learning more about them. I mean, I think they're very interesting. And Christian science, you know, I was raised with my own sort of style of curse. It's called mental malpractice. And so I got very interested in like how negative experiences work. I looked everywhere for evidence. There's someone who had been killed by just native expectations and the only ones I could find were maybe some of the Laotian communities. There's a book written about people who have — called hypnopompic hallucinations. When you wake and you can't move, some people have the sort of—
[00:51:43] Jordan Harbinger: Like sleep paralysis.
[00:51:44] Erik Vance: Yes, so some communities that's associated with death and maybe that, just the notion of that might've killed some people.
[00:51:52] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, that's scary. I had that when I was a kid and I would imagine that there was something sitting on my chest and then I read about it years later. And it turns out that like a bajillion people throughout history have had these like sleep paralysis demons. And it's just like, It's really common. It's like part of your brain wakes up and the rest of you doesn't so you can't move.
[00:52:09] Erik Vance: Yeah.
[00:52:10] Jordan Harbinger: And then you have either a visual or some sort of like dream state. Thank God it stopped happening to me when I was older. Because when I was younger, I thought it was like a sort of imaginary thing that would happen to me and it wasn't a big deal, but I think if it happened to me as an adult, I would legit have a heart attack.
[00:52:26] Erik Vance: Yeah. It's brilliant. I got into this a little bit with the book and especially with the book and I get into false memories a little bit, and there's some stuff attached to that. But what's interesting is I got very into sort of, you know, what damage can you do with negative expectations? Like I said, it's hard to study. There's a few things you can do with pain. Pain's about the only thing you can study when it comes to nocebos. Give someone more pain, give some a little pain, and then have them expect more, and you can see these effects, but it's hard to study.
[00:52:52] So I decided I would just go into a brujeria or like a witch doctor and see if I could get someone to curse me. I wasn't actually expecting the curse to do anything. But one of the things I learned about curses is that most of them only take effect once the person has been told they're cursed. So that's an important part of the curse is telling someone they're cursed. You curse someone, and then you tell them they're cursed. That finishes the curse. And you might argue that the whole curse is knowing that you're cursed. So I was wondering what that knowledge would do to me.
[00:53:20] So I went to a couple different practitioners. It turns out that cursing is a really big part of traditional medicine or brujeria. In Mexico, it seems like most of the industry seems to run on love potions and cursing ex-lovers. So that seems to be a—
[00:53:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that sounds about right.
[00:53:38] Erik Vance: And I talked to this guy and I was like, "Look, I want to get cursed." And he was looking confused. And he was like, "You mean like Guinea pig?" And I was like, "Yeah." And he was, "Okay. You know, it's dangerous, right?" "Yeah. I know." "There we go." And so I went in and I spent about a week and a half cursed. You have to read the book to get the full story, but I did have a relatively traumatic event happen to me during that time.
[00:53:58] What I really took away from it is that your experience in the world is very much dependent on what you think your experience was. If you want to see something in a negative way, if you want to see curses, if you want to see evil around every corner, it will be there and it can have a physical, you know, a real physical effect on you, measurable physical effect. Even something as mechanical is the heart, you know, like really doesn't seem like it's a placebo or nocebo organ, and yet what doctor's going to be like, "Oh yeah, stress and lots of fear is fine for your heart." Of course not, these are emotions, but you know, these emotions, these expectations and ways of seeing the world have a huge physical effect on your body. And so we have a lot of power over that, especially with nocebos and understanding how fear works was very powerful. And I think something that we need to know a lot more about.
[00:54:49] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I do want to talk about the false memories, especially the satanic panic that happened in California. This is like this crazy — I'll butcher the story here, but this neighborhood got it in their heads, right? That this preschool had been sacrificing snakes and making these kids do all this crazy stuff. And that there'd been abuse happening in this preschool and that kids were buried underneath it and all this stuff. And everyone just went absolutely bat shit crazy because of this delusion. And then it got even worse with people planting, essentially false memories into some of these little children, which was the real abuse kind of ironically. What was going on here? What was this?
[00:55:26] Erik Vance: Well, it wasn't just California. It was all the way across the country.
[00:55:28] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, wow.
[00:55:29] Erik Vance: There's a great FBI report. That's now I think it's public. I don't know if it's public at the time, but it's now in public. And you can see at one point the FBI had gotten — I don't know, if it was in one state or across the nation, more reports of like cult or satanic-related murder than there had been murders.
[00:55:47] Jordan Harbinger: So like more than a hundred percent of murders were also caused by satanic.
[00:55:50] Erik Vance: Yes. There weren't enough murdered people to make up for all the reports of satanic murder. It was just a huge thing that swept across the country. And then it led to something called the memory wars, which was a big argument about whether or not memories can be repressed. And whether or not these memories that, you know, when you have these memories that are brought up from your childhood, whether or not that's a thing or whether or not you're just creating false memories. And this was a huge area of conversation and really led to some destroyed lives.
[00:56:20] I talked to one woman, who sadly, I couldn't really go into her whole story in the book, but her husband has been in prison for a very long time for child molestation. And it was an event that basically — it was an impossible event. It would have taken an hour or two hours to do this thing. And he was only there only away for 10 minutes. And when you look at the transcript that led to the testimony from the kids, like these were memories that were very clearly planted in a child's head. For instance, it was about the spraying food on children — and I won't give any details, but pretty heinous stuff. And they asked the kid, "Did they put food on you?" And they said, "No." And they said, "Did they put catsup on you?" "Yes." And it's like — well, kids like catsup. You know, like when you're doing an interview with kids, you can't start suggesting things that happened to them because I can't say kids are suggestible that because it hasn't really been shown to be true, but kids are eager to please at the very least, and you know, they've got good imagination.
[00:57:21] So if you keep asking them again, again, did something happen and then you start describing it. Did it happen like this? Did it happen like that? Eventually, they'll going to say yes. And if you do that under a hypnotic suggestion, it's even more powerful. And if you have someone who happens to be hypnotizable, so you had a lot of these kids and adults too being questioned in really leading ways. And then sometimes being hypnotized, which ironically, a lot of this satanic panic did come out of testimony that was taken where the memories were created under hypnosis, which by many Christians is considered to be satanic itself, which it isn't. But like there's this interesting crossover there.
[00:57:58] And what ended up happening was a lot of innocent people went to jail and a lot of people's lives were ruined. And I talked to one girl in the book who's had a relatively normal childhood and then was told that her preschool teacher, years later told her preschool teacher was a satanic priest. And then she was, I think she was hypnotized, and given these memories. At least through several sessions, she was given memories involving snakes and all these different kinds of things. There was a snake involved, but it was actually, they were on a camping trip and someone caught a snake, but that memory was turned into this ritual. And then later, she realized these were false memories. And that back and forth is just very disorienting and some people never go back and many people think they had these experiences and they didn't, and it's just destructive.
[00:58:42] So false memories are just very, very interesting and they, and they come from a place of just suggestibility. They haven't been studied enough to really understand if they are connected to placebos and to hypnosis. And that's the great thing about being a science writer as supposed to scientists. The scientists will talk about this, outside meetings and have this like, "I wonder if there's a connection there," but if they can't really publish about it, it's not really a lot known about it. As a science writer, I can explore it as much as I want. And so there are these interesting connections between memory and also memories feed placebos in a weird way.
[00:59:14] As a Christian scientist, anyone who's had sort of healing outside of convention medicine, or even inside convention medicine, the way you remember those healings is often, much more dramatic than the way it actually happened. "Like as soon as I took the pill or, as soon as I realized this thing, the pain disappeared." Well, it doesn't actually usually happen that way. Usually it takes a couple of days. You don't remember. It took a couple of days. Like these things get more glorified in your memory, but that will feed your expectation for the next time. So the next time you try that thing, you'll remember that miraculous healing you had, which if you actually go back and look at a lot of these things, a lot of the healings I had, I think of them as being miraculous. But when you actually look at the timeline, "Yeah, it took a day." It might've been regression to the main. It could've been a lot of things. But my memory is really important and that creates an expectation for the future, because remember the brain takes the past, applies it to the present to predict the future.
[01:00:03] Jordan Harbinger: How does it work that we end up with a false memory? So do we just form memories in a certain way? And then like, there's a brain glitch in one of the steps. So we end up with a false memory. How does it happen?
[01:00:14] Erik Vance: I think a lot of us think memory is just pulling up video footage from the past—
[01:00:18] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:00:18] Erik Vance: —and it's not. Memories actually happen in three different stages, when it happens, and there's consolidation, and then there's retrieval. The thing happens and the consolidation is kind of fuzzy, often happens during sleep. But at some point, it could sort of turn from a short-term memory into long-term memory and then you retrieve it and remember it later. At any point in that stage, you can tweak the memory. You can change it when you're consolidating it. When it's happening, you can see it wrong. When it is consolidating, you can tweak it. And then when you're remembering it. The more times you remember a thing, the more opportunities you have to change it.
[01:00:47] Jordan Harbinger: Is that why people's stories evolve over time, right?
[01:00:49] Erik Vance: Yes.
[01:00:49] Jordan Harbinger: Like your uncle will have a story about a time he caught a fish. And then by the time, you're like 30 and hearing it for the 500th time, the fish was a shark and the boat was in the ocean instead of the pond in the back of his cabin, and he shot. You hear this all the time. And even me, like, I pride myself on being pretty rational. But when I was younger, I used to make up stories to seem interesting to adults, especially. And some of them are ridiculous stories, just like many kids tell, but looking back, not only were some of these stories actually impossible, but I truly believed in some, but not definitely not all of them, because I've told them — I've even told stories to my wife where she'll start asking questions. And then I will suddenly realize that this thing I thought happened when I was nine is completely, completely impossible. There's no possibility that it could have happened because the laws of physics would have had to just bend, or I would have had to have been as strong as I am now at age nine, physically for something to be lifted or moved or thrown or whatever, it's just not possible.
[01:01:50] Erik Vance: I mean, the classic one to look at is, you know, where are we on 9/11? Where were you when the Challenger went down? And people inevitably remember these things more dramatically than they actually were. And memory is weird that way. Like one classic example, especially if you're going further back is your perspective on a memory. If a memory gets old enough, for some reason, some memories you turn from being a participant to watching it happen. And what's interesting is, is that doesn't necessarily change the veracity of the memory. So I have some memories where I remember seeing myself, obviously I wasn't, and this is, I think it's called the panorama view or profile view. I forget what it's called. Your mind basically at some point switches over to seeing the whole scene, rather than just seeing it from your eyes. And yet the memory stays the same. No one really knows why that happens. There's a lot of really interesting flaws that happen to memory and a lot of it's around storytelling and that's where the connection is between a lot of these things. The Storytime, the stories we tell ourselves in order to build expectations.
[01:02:43] And so, you know, whether it's the fish or my favorite one when they do experiments on this is they implant memories by just saying, repeating it over and over again to people about the time they're with Disneyland and met Bugs Bunny and like, "Oh yeah, do you remember? He gave you a lot of hugs. And we took a picture with Bugs Bunny. Remember he was like, put his arm around you." They sometimes even bring in like the mother of the person, the subject, and be like, "Yes, you went and, you know, and Bugs Bunny. Oh, it was great. There's Mickey and Bugs and they all hang out." And of course, what's wrong with that?
[01:03:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. Bugs Bunny is not a Disney character.
[01:03:09] Erik Vance: Right. Yeah, no, he's Warner Bros. So it would be illegal for him to be at Disney World, but, you know, and this was sort of in response to it, like claims that these false memories were actually real memories that were being uncovered. And it's like, no, you can't uncover a memory of Bugs at Disney World. That didn't happen.
[01:03:23] Jordan Harbinger: I would fall for that though. Like I would 100 percent I'd be like, "Yeah, sure, that happened." I would never even think to argue that point.
[01:03:31] Erik Vance: You can almost see it.
[01:03:32] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I can almost see it.
[01:03:33] Erik Vance: Like him sitting there. It all gets back to like how malleable we are and also the importance of expectation. And the stories we tell ourselves and how they affect our real lives. I mean, that's where a lot of these things overlap and have the potential to cause damage.
[01:03:47] Jordan Harbinger: Other than satanic abuse. You know, we see alien abductions, and it is tragically comical that people are more likely to believe that an alien and extraterrestrial traveled 15,000 light years to have sex with them or collect their semen or whatever. People will believe that, but they won't believe like, "Hey, you know, your memories could be fallible. Your brain could have had these different things happening that are studied by science." And be like, "Nope, an alien traveled from another solar system to have sex with me. I have a child in another galaxy." It's like, okay. And it's easy to dismiss those people as totally wacko and mentally ill or something like that. But there's just a huge number of people that are convinced that that happened just like the satanic panic.
[01:04:26] Erik Vance: Yeah.
[01:04:26] Jordan Harbinger: There's a huge number of people that were grown-ass adults that should have known that there was not a secret tunnel underneath the preschool where children's ritually, sacrificed bodies were buried by the teacher.
[01:04:36] Erik Vance: Yeah, exactly. If I could just impart one lesson from all of this. It's okay. We're all fallible. Our brains are all fallible and it's okay. If we have this societal expectation or this societal, you know, sort of pressure to be correct, and to be clear eyed, none of us are. And once you accept that and realize that, "Look, my memories probably aren't right. You know what I think? It cures, maybe my own delusion," and that's okay, and in some cases even good. It makes a lot of the antipathy that at least some parts of our society have against each other, maybe eases it or makes a little easier to understand.
[01:05:14] None of us are right. None of us have a clear picture of whether it's — I mean, extended out to politics, but you know, certainly with health, none of us have a clear picture of what's going on in our bodies. We're all malleable and our memories are all fallible. And so you have to be skeptical of your own experience. People can be very skeptical of other people, but being skeptical of yourself is harder. And it doesn't mean you have to have self-doubt. It just means that you have to understand that what you're seeing is based on a lot of expectations and a lot of things going on in your brain and that you shouldn't let your desire to be right, hurt yourself or others. And I'm getting off a little bit of tangent, but that's tied up with all of these.
[01:05:55] And when you understand placebos, for example, the antipathy between people who are into traditional medicine, conventional medicine, and people who like alternative medicine disappears, because you can understand that something can be all in your mind and still work. Like those things are not mutually exclusive, and there's nothing wrong with that. There is something wrong with making a shit ton of money off of it, I think, but blaming someone for feeling better because they rubbed a crystal on their head is insane. If a crystal could work on me, I would have them everywhere.
[01:06:30] Having a little understanding for each other and by having understanding about yourself, that you're not right. Whatever you think, there's a good chance. It's not a hundred percent right. I think that would be the one message I'd like people to take.
[01:06:41] Jordan Harbinger: By knowing all of this stuff with the placebo effect and everything expectation, does it reduce our ability to take advantage of it? In other words, did you and I just screw this up for hundreds of thousands of people right now, destroying their ability to harness these positive effects?
[01:06:54] Erik Vance: Reading my book will not affect your ability to have a placebo effect.
[01:06:58] Jordan Harbinger: You have to say that. That would be a bad economic decision if you said otherwise.
[01:07:03] Erik Vance: Yes. Writing my book might. I will say that I have very little faith to throw around anymore. And I do think I've sort of broken that part of my brain a little bit because I just don't trust anything, but I've gotten pretty deep into this stuff. The thing about placebos is no matter what you think about them, they still work. You can't get rid of them. If you get rid of them, we wouldn't have them. You can read my book over and over again, and you're not going to affect this. This is fundamental to who we are. We are gullible. And so thinking about this and getting into it isn't going to change what your brain does. Nothing you can do does. It may make you a little bit harder to fool and maybe you won't have as many opportunities to have that amazing, "Oh, this new QR band," that goes around your wrist and then makes your chronic pain go away.
[01:07:50] But, you know, there are also a lot of things that blend what we know scientifically and placebos — mindfulness is one of them, where we don't fully understand how that works. And there is a lot of placebo involved in mindfulness. But there's also cognitive behavioral therapy in there. So there are ways that you can take these things in and apply them, or just good bedside manner if you're a doctor. Like the power of bedside manner, you might be throwing away 30 percent of your cure by being a dick. If you're trying to help people, that tenderness can be very powerful. You're not going to read my book or go into this topic, or maybe even dive deeply in it, on your own and lose this ability. This is something we're born with, and this is something we're not getting rid of
[01:08:33] Jordan Harbinger: Erik, thank you so much, fascinating stuff. I really appreciate your time and your expertise. I thought the book was fascinating. We'll link to it in the show notes. The placebo effect and the hidden memories or the false memories, that alone is worth the read. There's the satanic panic story. Entertainment value alone is enough to grab the book in my opinion. So thank you once again, for coming on the show and for all your time and expertise today.
[01:08:57] We've got a trailer of our interview with Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer. Cesar tells us how he went from impoverished Sinaloan kid to homeless immigrant to world famous dog training guru. We'll also learn how to communicate better with animals by understanding the priority of their senses compared to our own. Check out episode 162 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:09:16] Cesar Millan: When I was 10 years old, I told my mom, "Mom, when I grow old I'm going to be a drug dealer." And she's—
[01:09:23] Jordan Harbinger: Oh wow. She slapped you.
[01:09:24] Cesar Millan: Slapped me across the face and say, "If you want to kill me, that's what you do." And when I was 13 years old, I told my mom, "Mom, you think you'd be the best doctor in the world." She turned around, she said, "You can be whatever you want." So I spent Christmas and new year's at the border trying to jump it.
[01:09:40] Jordan Harbinger: You get this reputation as the guy who could walk 30 dogs.
[01:09:43] Cesar Millan: That was in San Diego.
[01:09:47] Jordan Harbinger: You were kind of an underground guy for a while that could walk all these dogs—
[01:09:51] Cesar Millan: In LA.
[01:09:51] Jordan Harbinger: —in LA with no leash and the gang bangers are hanging out. Like there goes the crazy guy with all the dogs.
[01:09:57] Cesar Millan: Yeah.
[01:09:57] Jordan Harbinger: Don't mess with the guy with the dogs.
[01:09:59] Cesar Millan: My customers were NBA players, NFL players, Nicolas Cage.
[01:10:05] Jordan Harbinger: Nicolas Cage?
[01:10:07] Cesar Millan: Nicolas Cage.
[01:10:08] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[01:10:08] Cesar Millan: Vin Diesel.
[01:10:09] Jordan Harbinger: How did they hear about you?
[01:10:10] Cesar Millan: That Mexican guy in the street.
[01:10:13] Jordan Harbinger: You're washing limos and you're like, "Yeah, I want to be on TV.
[01:10:15] Cesar Millan: Yeah.
[01:10:15] Jordan Harbinger: People must've been like, "Okay buddy."
[01:10:18] Cesar Millan: Most of them. I was first interviewed by the LA Times. At the end of the conversation, the lady says, so what would you like to do next? I say, "Well, I would like to have a TV show." So I manifested the TV show way before producers came. And I had no idea. I didn't know that dishonesty part in Hollywood. You better have a good pack of lawyers.
[01:10:38] Jordan Harbinger: For more from Cesar Millan, including how animal behavior is reflective of their human owners, check out episode 162 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:10:48] I always find this brain stuff interesting. For example, if we could identify placebo prone people, doctors could open up a whole new suite of tools to treat pain and suffering among that subset of people, because remember it's not the same for everyone. Imagine not needing drugs at all, or not needing as severe of drugs in certain people, because you know that the placebo will work. Using expectation, the concept of expectation we talked about today to modify pain that seems ethical, but modifying memory using the same set of techniques somehow seems very unethical. And I haven't quite wrapped my head around all that. I'm not quite in the philosophical area of thinking here. I'm curious what you think.
[01:11:27] By the way I know we talked about this a little in the show. If you want to start experimenting with the psychology of placebo and expectation, there's some good guidelines to get started. Some of those will be in the worksheet. The rest are going to be in the book, of course, if you want to check out Erik's book. I don't want you to try something that can hurt you or ended up getting you addicted to something stupid like that. But placebo and expectation, it is real. But if you have to stretch your finances or go to some guru, then it's probably bullshit. If you're spending 10 bucks a month on sugar pills and it's working, hey, good for you. Keep doing it. But if you're spending $40,000 a year on vitamin infusions from some fake doctor, you're getting conned or a real doctor, you're still getting conned. Don't do things like rhino horn that make animals extinct and absolutely you should be running from anyone that says they can cure a disease or bring back lost memories of past lives or anything like that.
[01:12:16] Again, big, thanks to Erik Vance. The book title is Suggestible You. We'll link it in the show notes. Links to everything is always in the show notes. And please do use our website links if you buy the books or anything else. That always does help support the show. Worksheets for this episode are in the show notes. Transcripts are in the show notes. There's a video of this interview going up on the YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram or just hit me on LinkedIn. Love hearing from you there.
[01:12:42] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using systems, using tiny habits, over at our Six-Minute Networking course. Now, that course is free. It's not enter-your-credit-card free. It's actually free. There's no upsells. I don't have anything to sell you here yet. I just want you to buy stuff from my sponsors so I can keep reading books and talking to smart people. That course is at jordanharbinger.com/course. Please do dig the well before you get thirsty. Most of the guests on the show, they actually subscribed to the course and the newsletter. Come join us, you'll be in smart company.
[01:13:10] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My amazing team includes Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know a brain scientist, somebody interested in behavior or marketing or brain science, any of that stuff, please do share this episode with them. I hope that you find something great in every episode of this show. Please do share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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