A Worldwide Placebo Happiness Study

Participate in the first worldwide Placebo Happiness study. Cutting edge research exploring how the placebo effect can change your life! Plus, get happier!
Daniel Jacobs
Email Verified
San Francisco, California
United States
7 Team Members

The Placebo Happiness Study lets you participate in and benefit from cutting edge research on the placebo effect + happiness!

How can the placebo effect help me be happier?

The placebo effect is a result of a variety of inputs that support people in achieving their goals… including happiness! Recent research out of Harvard and other universities has shown that people can experience a placebo effect, even when they know it’s a Placebo.

Positive belief, social support, and daily rituals that reinforce the goals people wish to achieve are all inputs that can help make the placebo effect stronger for people. By working with the latest in placebo science, we built a system that supports people in experiencing greater happiness! 

What is the global importance of this study?

66% of Americans are unhappy, and a double-digit percentage of Americans take antidepressants. Yet according to a recent Better Life Index, we’re still one of the 6 happiest countries in the world. 

Unhappiness is a global epidemic!

Most of our solutions for happiness are external: they include more pills, more jobs, more diversion, etc. The problem with such solutions is that happiness doesn't grow on trees, in cars, or in pills. It grows in our hearts, minds, and communities.

Learning to harness the placebo effect to be happier means making a shift inside - and the placebo effect is all about what's inside. This Placebo Happiness Study will help us create a long-term, sustainable happiness solution that anyone around the globe can use... without side effects.

What do I get for making a contribution?

You mean, besides the warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart that you'll get from knowing your contribution may help put smiles on peoples faces all around the world? :) As a contributor to this campaign, here's what you get: 

  • Be a part of the Placebo Happiness Study.
  • Exclusive access to global results; compare your data with others.
  • Share and compare your data with friends who sign up.
  • Compare your data with people around the world.
  • Help advance Placebo and happiness science.
  • Updates on the latest findings that impact you.
  • Find out just how much happier Placebos make you feel!

How does the Placebo Happiness Study work?

Step 0.5:  Become a contributor.

Step 1:  When the study begins after the campaign ends, you’ll choose one of a few 30-day “happiness” prescriptions created by renowned authors.

Step 2: Each day for 30 days you’ll do the following:

  1. Check in and rate your happiness.
  2. Watch a 1 to 2 minute always-unique insightful video (your Placebo).
  3. Set an intention for one thing you’ll do in the next 24 hours to be happier.

Step 3: After the study is complete, you’ll get follow up data, a copy of the published study, and officially be a part of the largest Placebo Happiness Study ever, helping to move Placebo and Happiness research forward!

What are the chances I actually feel happier?

In March we did the first pilot study. It was planned for 50 people, but over 1,000 people participated. The results:

Participants experienced a 40% increase in daily happiness from the beginning of the study to the end of the study!

Incredibly, this was just a pilot study. Since then, we've begun working with UC San Diego researchers and NY Times best-selling authors to refine the process. So we believe there's a good shot you'll feel happier!

About the Placebo Group and Control Group

When the study begins, you will either be placed in the Placebo Group or the Control Group. (Typically a placebo group is the control group, but in this case it's Placebos whose efficacy we're testing!). Here's the functional difference: 

  • If you’re in the Placebo group, you can begin your prescription immediately after the IndieGoGo campaign ends.
  • If you’re in the Control group, you’ll be asked to wait 30 days to begin your Prescription. 
The Control Group is critical in helping us to get a viable reading for the effectiveness of the Placebos.  If you are assigned to that group, we know it’s a bit of a bummer to wait, but remember this: you will be helping us to to advance research that can help people all around the world!


Some words from media outlets 

A year ago, Placebo Effect raised $50,114 on IndieGoGo to do the research and development that brought us here today. Below are excerpts from articles published about us back then!

From Huffington Post: "When Daniel took me through a trial of the app, I instantly felt calmer and more centered, even though we were sitting in a busy café. It gave me hope."

From Fast Company: "The point is to replicate what’s important about the placebo effect, which isn’t the pill itself, but the experience."

From Mashable: "The whole idea is to create a comfortable "happy place" to achieve the proper effect."

From AOL: "It gives you a personalized placebo without actually handing you a pill or anything physical!"

From Geekwire: "One real benefit of the app is its mobility — you don’t need to go to a doctor’s office to get the placebo effect."

From The Verge: "If placebos could be effectively prescribed without the need to lie to patients, it would be revolutionary. Placebos are cheaper and safer than many treatments."

From HuffPostTV: "This app lets you create personalized placebo effects to enhance your life."

A little about us (I'll try to summarize!)

Our team includes renowned scientists, technologists, and community leaders. Founders Daniel Jacobs and Chigo Nwankpa have, collectively, invented numerous philanthropic and behavior change platforms that have benefited nonprofits, foundations, and businesses. Between us, over 300 million community members have used our technology inventions. 

Advisors include James Fowler (Harvard PhD scientist, Guggenheim Fellow, one of TechCrunch's 100 Most Innovative, NY Times best seller), Paul King (former Dir. of Technology of the Gates foundation), Jeff Bader (President of NBC), Andy Smith (award-winning social change author, economist), and others who've done similarly amazing work in the world. 

Our content partners helping to create prescriptions include 4 New York Times best selling authors, 5 Fortune 500 keynote speakers, 2 doctors, and a therapist. 

About your privacy 

Placebo Effect will never release any of your personal identifying data. We don't store your data in a way that anyone could learn who you are from it.

Data visualization 

During and after the study, you'll have access to a dashboard where you can understand and visualize your data. We will also share with you the latest discoveries in the field of placebo science, and how you can use them to continue to improve your life. 

The kinds of contributors we're looking for

Everyone! Happy, sad, feeble, strong, kids, adults, wallflowers, know-it-alls, skeptics, believers, friends, enemies, United States, Iran... everyone! 

This study gets more powerful (and statistically significant) as more people participate. If you have an internet connection and you can spare 60 minutes over the course of the month, then you are who we want. 

How we plan to use funds

Your pledge will be used to conduct our massive worldwide Placebo Happiness Study. Specifically, it'll be used to continue to develop the technology, do the reporting, make the data accessible and visualizable, and have amazing technologists and researchers participate in our work!

It just so happens that IndieGoGo has already been instrumental in our work. A year ago today, we raised $50,144 on IndieGoGo to build the first version of the technology that provides the foundation for the Placebo Happiness Study.

If people didn't care about the Placebo Effect, we wouldn't exist. We are here, only, because at every stage of our work and development, people have wanted to see what we're doing exist.  We owe our work and existence to you and this community. So thank you!

Now - with your help - we're excited to be on the cutting edges of placebo research, and simultaneously we have the opportunity to spread lots of happiness into the universe!

Find This Campaign On
raised by 50 people in 2 months
9% funded
No time left
$20,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on July 18, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $1USD
    Placebo Scholarship

    One of our deepest held values is that everyone should be able to participate in this study, regardless of finances. Choose this perk and pay whatever you can, and you will receive a scholarship to participate in the study!

    13 claimed
  • $1USD
    Give Placebo Scholarship

    Choose this perk and contribute $1 or more if you don’t want a prescription, but want to help us in creating a lasting legacy of offering our work and research to anyone who needs it.

    3 claimed
  • $20USD
    Happiness Prescription

    Be a part of our worldwide Placebo Happiness Study, receive instant data on your progress, compare your progress to others, collaborate with friends, help advance placebo science, and feel happier!

    18 claimed
  • $50USD
    Get 4 More Prescriptions

    In addition to happiness, we offer (or will soon be offering) prescriptions from experts ranging from NY Times best sellers to renowned doctors, and more every week. Be a part of the Placebo Happiness Study w/all the perks + receive a coupon for 4 prescriptions of your choice (for prescriptions authors who agree !)

    3 claimed
  • $100USD
    1 Personalized Placebo

    Choose a topic - any topic - and have a 1 to 3 minute insightful Placebo created by Placebo Effect founder Daniel Jacobs. Additionally be a part of the Placebo Happiness Study AND receive a coupon for 4 prescriptions.

    0 claimed
  • $250USD
    3 Personalized Placebos

    Choose a topic - any topic - and have 3 personalized Placebos created by Placebo Effect founder Daniel Jacobs. Additionally be a part of the Placebo Happiness Study AND receive a coupon for 4 more prescriptions.

    2 out of 3 claimed
  • $500USD
    Dinner with the Founders

    San Francisco Bay Area. The meal’s on us. We’ll have a good time! Additionally be a part of the Placebo Happiness Study AND receive a coupon for 4 prescriptions.

    1 out of 3 claimed
  • $750USD
    Sponsor New Prescription

    Choose any goal you want, and get a prescription with 15 Placebos created to support you in achieving that goal. Also, have your name as a sponsor of that prescription in the description when it's made available for others.

    0 out of 3 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Group Study Participation

    Have 50 people from your organization sign up to participate in our Placebo Happiness Study. Additionally receive a group login page, group data, and group functionality that allows for team members to support each other in their success.

    0 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Custom Prescription Package

    We will work with your organization to create a custom prescription that reflects your organizations needs with unique, specific content. Included is consulting for the prescription, a subject matter expert to make the prescription, and an unlimited seat license.

    0 out of 2 claimed
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