1st Edition

Placebo Effects in Sport and Exercise

Edited By Philip Hurst, Chris Beedie Copyright 2024
    198 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    198 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Placebo effects have been recognised by medicine and by science, yet only recently has systematic research begun to fully understand what they are and how they work. Sport and exercise scientists started systematic research to better understand the potential performance-enhancing effects of placebos as well as how a range of treatments are used in sport, from nutritional supplements to psychological interventions to sports medicine treatments. Placebo Effects in Sport and Exercise synthesises this field of research of the influence placebo effects have in sport and exercise.

    This book brings together many of the world’s leading and emerging placebo effect researchers to help readers gain an understanding of core research findings from within sports and exercise science as well as sport and exercise-related contributions from experts in anthropology, medicine, and neuroscience. Readers will gain an insight of what placebo and nocebo effects are, how they might influence sport and exercise performance and outcomes, and how they might significantly influence the effectiveness of performance and health interventions.

    The book investigates various practical and ethical implications for the sport and exercise practitioner, student, and researcher to consider. Can a placebo work if the athlete knows it’s a placebo? Should practitioners use placebos to enhance performance? Can the use of placebos reduce doping? Are some sports medicine treatments little more than placebos?

    With the rapid growth of applied sports medicine, as well as the concept of exercise as a mental health treatment in its own right, Placebo Effects in Sport and Exercise is key reading for students and researchers of sport psychology as well as those out in the field.

    1. What are placebo effects? An introduction

    John S. Raglin

    2. Can placebo effects go wrong? The nocebo effect in sport and exercise

    Luana Colloca

    3. Can a placebo effect make me faster? Evidence for placebo effects as performance enhancers in sport

    Guilherme Matta, Florentina Hettinga, and Andrew Edwards

    4. What happens in my brain when I experience a placebo effect? Neurobiological mechanisms of placebo effects

    Bart Roelands

    5. Are placebo effects special? A social-evolutionary perspective on resource perception in exercise-induced fatigue and performance

    Emma Cohen

    6. Do I think or do I feel a placebo effect? Placebo effects and emotion in sport

    Chris Beedie

    7. Are placebo effects a perceptual illusion? Placebo effects on performance within the Bayesian Brain

    Aaron Greenhouse-Tucknott, Jake B. Butterworth, James G. Wrightson, and Jeanne Dekerle

    8. Can we replace oxygen, at least partially, with a placebo? Placebo effects at high altitude

    Fabrizio Benedetti

    9. Can we remove placebo effects from exercise interventions? Methodological considerations for understanding the psychological benefits of exercise

    Jacob B. Lindheimer

    10. Do placebo effects improve my skill? The influence of placebo effects on motor control and learning

    Mirta Fiorio and Diletta Barbiani

    11. How do I use placebo effects to improve my interventions? Harnessing knowledge of placebo effects to maximise the effectiveness of interventions in sport

    Andrew M. Lane, Ross Cloak, and Tracey J. Devonport

    12. Do you have to lie to induce placebo effects? The use of open label placebos in sport and exercise

    Bryan Saunders, Felipe Miguel Marticorena, and Bruno Gualano

    13. If I inject words not drugs, will athletes be less likely to dope?

    Philip Hurst and Abby Foad

    14. Is it OK to recommend complementary or alternative medicine even though I know it’s a placebo? Why the neurobiology of the placebo effect does not legitimize the use of CAM

    Chris Beedie

    15. Can I use the placebo effect to treat injured or ill athletes? Ethics, deception, and placebo effects in sports medicine

    Marcus Campos, Pascal Borry, and Mike McNamee


    Philip Hurst, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at the School of Psychology and Life Sciences at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK.

    Chris Beedie is an Honorary Professor and an affiliate of the Cognition and Neuroscience Research Group at the School of Psychology at the University of Kent, UK.