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Amir Raz
Canada Research Chair, Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University 

Alternative placebos: From magic to neurofeedback

Not all placebos are straightforward; some are rather subtle.  Blurred and tenuous rubrics such as magic, hypnosis, and psychotherapy have long raised some interesting operative questions about placebos.  More recently, neurofeedback, an ostensibly “scientific” tool available for moulding brain function and bolstering mental processes, gained visibility.  A careful look at the available findings suggests that the benefits of neurofeedback, and many other twilight appellations, may derive largely from placebo-like effects.

Biosketch

Professor Amir Raz is the Canada Research Chair in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and a member of the departments of psychiatry, neurology and neurosurgery, and psychology.  He teaches many courses at McGill, including a popular elective course on placebos for medical students.  He has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed publications, including in top journals such as Nature, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, The Lancet Psychiatry, Archives of General Psychiatry (JAMA Psychiatry), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Brain, and Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (with over a thousand citations).  In addition, he has published his programmatic research efforts in leading niche journals including Psychological Science, PLoS Medicine, Cortex, and NeuroImage.  By way of books, Dr. Raz published three peer-reviewed volumes, commissioned by reputable academic publishing houses (i.e., Open University of Israel and Oxford University Press) and is currently completing two more volumes.  His contributions are multi-factorial and apply both outside and within the University.  He is a former member of the McGill Board of Governors and an active communicator in the media and community outreach programs.