Recommended reading
Beedie, C.J. & Foad, A. (2009) ‘The placebo effect in sports performance: a brief review’, Sports
Medicine, 39(4), pp. 313-329.

Benedetti. F., Maggi, G., Lopiano, L., Lanotte, M., Rainero, I., Vighetti, S., et al. (2003). Open versus
hidden medical treatments: The patient’s knowledge about a therapy affects the therapy outcome.
Prevention and Treatment, 6(1), 1-16. http://www.journals.apa.org/prevention/volume6/pre0001a.html

Colloca, L. & Miller, F.G. (2011). Harnessing the placebo effect: the need for translation research.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 366, 1922-1930.

Evans, D. (2003). Placebo: The belief effect. London: HarperCollins

Howick, J., Friedemann, C., Tsakok, M., Watson, R., Tsakok, T., Thomas, J., Perera, R., Fleming, S. &
Heneghan, C. (2013) ‘Are treatments more effective than placebos? A systematic review and meta-
analysis’ PLoS One, 15(8), http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.
0062599

Kaptchuk, T. J. (2001). The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Gold standard or
golden calf? Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 54(6), 541-549

Kirsch, I., & Weixel, L. J. (1988). Double-blind versus deceptive administration of a placebo.
Behavioural Neuroscience, 102(22), 319-323.
When you have studied this chapter, you should be able to:
    1 Describe research that has investigated the placebo effect in sport and exercise
    2 Evaluate the concept of the placebo effect in research
    3 Critically consider the role and implications of the placebo effect for athletes, exercisers and
    professional practitioners
Books
Evans, D. (2003). Placebo: The belief effect. London:
HarperCollins.
Beliefs versus reality, or beliefs as reality?
The placebo effect in sport and exercise
Activity
Think of an example in sport or exercise where the placebo effect might impact on
performance outcome or a similar dependent variable.
  • Design a study to investigate the placebo effect in this context.
  • Is your study valid and reliable?
  • What problems might you encounter in your design that could confound
    accurate estimation of the placebo effect?
Key concepts

Placebo effect
  • A positive outcome arising from the belief that a
    beneficial treatment has been received.

Nocebo effect
  • A negative outcome arising from the belief either that
    a negative treatment has been received or that a
    beneficial treatment has been withheld.

Placebo-controlled clinical trial
  • An empirical exploration of the experimental effects
    of an intervention in which the potential
    psychological effects (placebo effects) are controlled
    for by use of a placebo control.
Journals
Beedie, C. J. and Foad, A. (2009). The placebo effect in sports performance: A
brief review.
Sports Medicine, 39(4), 313–29.

Benedetti, F., Maggi, G., Lopiano, L., Lanotte, M., Rainero, I., Vighetti, S. and Pollo,
A.
(2003). Open versus hidden medical treatments: The patient’s knowledge about a
therapy
affects the therapy outcome. Prevention and Treatment, 6(1), 1–16.

Colloca, L. and Miller, F. G. (2011). Harnessing the placebo effect: The need for
translation
research. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences,
366, 1922–30.

Howick, J., Friedemann, C., Tsakok, M., Watson, R., Tsakok, T., Thomas, J.,
Perera, R.,
Fleming, S. and Heneghan, C. (2013). Are treatments more effective than
placebos?
A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One, 15(8). Available
online

Kaptchuk, T. J. (2001). The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.
Gold standard
or golden calf? Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 54(6), 541–9.

Kirsch, I. and Weixel, L. J. (1988). Double-blind versus deceptive administration of
a placebo.
Behavioural Neuroscience, 102(22), 319–23.