The early history of placebos reveals how lies have been used by credentialed professionals to achieve desired outcomes.
An article in the November issue of the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance introduces an intriguing Thomas Jefferson quote from 1807 addressing “pious fraud”: “One of the most successful physicians I have ever known has assured me that he used more bread pills, drops of colored water and powders of hickory ashes, than of all other medicines put together”.
When it comes to winning at the highest levels of sport, it may be the case that many “sport scientists” have either stretched the truth or simply blatantly lied to an elite athlete in hopes of improving sporting performance.
If research is correct and belief effects are indeed powerful, should lying to an athlete in hopes of improving performance be considered an acceptable practice?
What should we think of sport science “gurus” who confidently administer dubious ergogenic aids they barely understand if the outcome is a victorious athlete?
As suggested by Thomas Jefferson, history reveals that physicians have been prescribing placebos for more than 200 years in an attempt to make patients feel better.