Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Pain, evolution, and the placebo response

Dylan Evans a1
a1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, United Kingdom


Williams argues that humans have evolved special purpose adaptations for eliciting medical attention from others, such as a specific facial expression of pain. She also recognises that such adaptations would almost certainly have coevolved with adaptations for providing and responding to medical care. The placebo response may be one such adaptation, and any evolutionary account of pain must also address this important phenomenon.