The present study surveyed Dunedin general practitioners to determine whether they would deliberately use placebo treatments, under what conditions they would do so, their basic understanding of the placebo effect, and their perception of their use of placebos relative to that of their colleagues. Results indicated that almost all GPS surveyed would deliberately use a placebo treatment under some circumstances. However, there was a clear and statistically significant tendency to understate their use relative to that of their colleagues. It was also clear that a significant number of those surveyed felt placebo treatments to be more appropriate for "imaginary illnesses". Results are discussed in comparison with overseas studies and in regard to their implications for medical training.