Dr Ben Colagiuri
University of Sydney
The majority of Dr Colagiuri’s research focuses on the placebo effect – whereby a person experiences improvement following a sham treatment, simply because they believe it will work. His research tries to understand how this happens and has found that placebos can help people sleep better, can reduce uncomfortable symptoms like nausea and pain, and can improve learning and memory. He has also found that placebo effects aren’t always good. Warning people about side effects can lead to them experiencing more side effects even if they’ve only been given a placebo. I hope that by understanding the placebo effect more, that we will be able to use it to improve good treatment outcomes (like pain relief) and minimise bad treatment outcomes (like side effects).
Ben has given various public talks, including at the Museum of Human Disease and NerdNite, including one at NSW Parliament House as part of National Psychology Week. He has also contributed to media stories, including those targeted to rural NSW, and provided interviews for popular magazines, such as Women’s Health.