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-   -   Placebo Effect (https://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/placebo-effect-21789.html)

Diesel_Dave 05-05-2012 09:37 PM

Placebo Effect
 
I was wondering whether sometimes mods have a placebo effect. For example, I recently switched to some lower weight synthetic oil, which has resulted in some record-breaking mileage for me. I'm wondering though whether it's really all the oil or not. Could it be that the oil does provide some benefit, but much of the benefit comes from me looking at my mileage display and thinking, "Wow, this is a really good day today, maybe if I really focus, I can break another personal record." So, for example, maybe the oil provides a 5% improvement, and my increased focus provides another 5% (maybe?).

I'm not sure if there's really any way to prove or disprove this. Anyone else thought about potential "placebo effects"?

Frank Lee 05-05-2012 09:44 PM

All the time. Practically need a double blind test to avoid it.

Piwoslaw 05-06-2012 01:39 AM

It might not be related, and/or the difference may be within testing noise.

You often read on performance sites that placing magnets next to the fuel lines increased both power and fuel economy, for example.

cfg83 05-06-2012 02:51 AM

Diesel_Dave -

I only make hard claims on three things, driving style, one-size-up tires and my taller 5th gear. Recently I've also had some really good tanks after switching from 91 to 87 octane and slightly modifying my side skirts. But in the background there is also the possibility of warmer weather and a change in the gas blend.

One thing I think happens a lot is that someone joins this group and makes a mod at the same time they are improving their driving style for MPG. They make the mod, are more attentive during the mod, and improve their MPG as a virtue of changing the way they drive. Now, which helped more, the driving style or the mod?

CarloSW2

slowmover 05-06-2012 09:56 AM

more fillups, the better for the average

Kodak 05-06-2012 11:28 AM

Yeah, I think there is certainly a placebo component.

You mentioned positive thinking over a potentially record-breaking tank. Sometimes the reverse happens too, when you get behind an erratic vehicle, or hit a few extra lights on your commute. It's like you know it's going to be lousy no matter how hard you try.

Although it's not magical, I think it has everything to do with focusing - or not focusing - on success.

ecomodded 05-06-2012 11:51 AM

The placebo effect should be listed as a real mpg saving technique, it causes the driver to drive at his utmost best.
Vortex generators could improve everyone's mpg.
Magnets and acetone can make you drive smarter !

Frank Lee 05-06-2012 12:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by slowmover (Post 305472)
more fillups, the better for the average

Yes, but not small fills as any particular data point is more affected by fill variation.

nemo 05-06-2012 12:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ecomodded (Post 305493)
The placebo effect should be listed as a real mpg saving technique, it causes the driver to drive at his utmost best.
Vortex generators could improve everyone's mpg.
Magnets and acetone can make you drive smarter !

But is the effect permanent? How soon will it take for the old habits to return without a conscious effort to to change them?

JRMichler 05-06-2012 01:22 PM

And a good tank reinforces the driving habits caused by the placebo effect, thus "proving" that the change resulted in better mileage.

How about a new mileage technique: Using Placebo (TM) to improve driving skills.

mcrews 05-06-2012 05:53 PM

What we are talking about is not 'truely placebo effect' (as frank stated)
here is an example:
I give frank lee, Darin and Carlos each a geo metro to drive. I tell Frank Lee and carlos their cars are exactly modded to achieve optimal mileage.
(for the sake of the test I have only increased the air pressure in Carlos tires to 48psi, frank lee & darin are at 32)
Frank is the placebo.

Darin knows that he has no alterations and just drives.
Frank Lee thinks he has a 'modded' car and subconsiously drives better.
Carlos gets better mileage because of the mode (and subconsoiusly drives better)

In the medical/pharma field, the placebo effect can be as high as 15% of the blind group can 'feel' a positive result of the sugar tablet.

What we experience is really a 'shadow' effect. or ghost effect. or guilt effect.

But I agree that it exists.

Frank Lee 05-06-2012 06:11 PM

Aw Man, I wanted the modded car!

mcrews 05-06-2012 06:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Lee (Post 305554)
Aw Man, I wanted the modded car!



believe me....I gave A LOT of thought as to who got which car :D :thumbup:

JRMichler 05-06-2012 09:43 PM

Wikipedia is our friend: List of cognitive biases - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

See Experimenter's Bias and Selective Perception.

Frank Lee 05-06-2012 10:03 PM

I learned back in college about placebo, test bias, and test procedure. I did a bunch of aeromods and coast-down testing and wanted so badly for the data to confirm the efficacy of the mods, but it didn't. And that's what I presented in my paper even though cherry picking "favorable" results did cross my mind.

MetroMPG 05-07-2012 09:56 AM

Ah, but didn't you use a shaky measurement technique that relied on you watching an analog gauge & manually pressing a stopwatch start/stop? There's a lot of wetware in the methodology adding to the experimental noise.

---

Related to this topic: http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...ery-11445.html

Frank Lee 05-07-2012 02:37 PM

There sure was!

HilseeJ 05-07-2012 10:12 PM

If you want to experience a true demonstration of this effect, buy an ecomodder sticker and put in on the left side of your car so you see it every time you get in your car.

To this day, I swear it has some magical MPG boosting effect.

mcrews 05-08-2012 02:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HilseeJ (Post 305812)
If you want to experience a true demonstration of this effect, buy an ecomodder sticker and put in on the left side of your car so you see it every time you get in your car.

To this day, I swear it has some magical MPG boosting effect.

Probably one of the greatest contributions of this site is the effect that we are referring to.

You can find several sites that promote mpg. But you feel like you have to get a 'pocket protector' to post there on a regular basis. Or give up your believe in physics and chemestry.

Here there is the idea that anyone can play in the sandbox:thumbup: That has a very 'it's ok' sffect on each persons efforts to get better mpg!:D

skyking 05-08-2012 08:44 AM

In my case, I have to take the long look at what I am doing. I have no scangauge, no instant gratification, and I drive the truck sporadically. It takes me months to really accumulate enough data so I gave up on ABA testing. I just do things that are proven to help, sit back and enjoy the 'ride'. I'll make three changes to the truck in the course of the next tankful.

cfg83 05-08-2012 02:21 PM

skyking -

Quote:

Originally Posted by skyking (Post 305888)
In my case, I have to take the long look at what I am doing. I have no scangauge, no instant gratification, and I drive the truck sporadically. It takes me months to really accumulate enough data so I gave up on ABA testing. I just do things that are proven to help, sit back and enjoy the 'ride'. I'll make three changes to the truck in the course of the next tankful.

I choose to take the long look. I *don't* fill up my tank to the brim. I'm always going from 1/4 to 3/4 tank, which is what I did *before* Ecomodder. That makes for a lot of small fill-ups but I document that people should look at my 90 day average, not my tank to tank.

CarloSW2

ecomodded 05-08-2012 02:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nemo (Post 305502)
But is the effect permanent? How soon will it take for the old habits to return without a conscious effort to to change them?

Totally understandable statement, but the placebo effect will still cause him/her to get those gains he was looking for. In others words a person will prove his mod worked even if he has too drive extra slow to do it, but unknowable to himself.
As you suggested If the driver was too lose interest his gains would disappear.

HilseeJ 05-08-2012 03:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ecomodded (Post 305975)
As you suggested If the driver was too lose interest his gains would disappear.

I agree wholeheartedly, with myself as an example.

That's the reason I'm trying to stray away from my normal lurking and actually get involved with the forum.

I've read other posts in the past that confirm this.

JRMichler 05-08-2012 08:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HilseeJ (Post 305984)
I agree wholeheartedly, with myself as an example.

That's the reason I'm trying to stray away from my normal lurking and actually get involved with the forum.

I've read other posts in the past that confirm this.

And your gas log (you ARE starting one, aren't you?) is part of that.


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