Statistics and Probability Dictionary

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Blinding

In an experiment, if subjects in the control group know that they are receiving a placebo, the placebo effect will be reduced or eliminated; and the placebo will not serve its intended control purpose.

Blinding is the practice of not telling subjects whether they are receiving a placebo. In this way, subjects in the control and treatment groups experience the placebo effect equally. Often, knowledge of which groups receive placebos is also kept from analysts who evaluate the experiment. This practice is called double blinding. It prevents the analysts from "spilling the beans" to subjects through subtle cues; and it assures that their evaluation is not tainted by awareness of actual treatment conditions.

See also:   Experiments