Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs
Is anyone here well versed enough in psychology to explain how one can have a placebo effect opposite to the expected direction, e.g. preferring a $10 printer cable to a $200 audiophile USB cable? Or for that matter having any differential placebo effect at all when one doesn't expect a difference?
That depends - if the subject(s) can reliably differentiate the two cables on multiple tests, they may just prefer one over the other.
For that matter, why is there an expected direction? Another hypotheses is that there will be no difference/preference when tested blind.
If they can't reliably differentiate them, their preference is meaningless and calling it placebo isn't exactly appropriate.
Further, if they refuse or are unable to test the reliability of their differentiation, then their preference is similarly meaningless - they can't get the marketing copy out of their heads or can't get over the sky-high price.