According to Dr Steve Kamper, a pain researcher at the University of Sydney, when it comes to harnessing the placebo effect, your best move is to ignore the sugar pill and instead look to the psychology that underpins the effect. “Rituals, visualisation – these things boost expectations about outcome,” he says RITUALS A study from the University of Cologne found that people putted more accurately when they were told the golf ball was “lucky”. The researchers concluded that superstitions and lucky charms boost self-efficacy. Rabbit’s foot, anyone? VISUALISATION Here’s a strength plan for the thinking man: researchers at the University of Giessen found that people who visualised half their weights sessions over an eight-week period boosted their strength by up to four per cent – roughly the same as those who hit the gym the entire time. EXPECTATION Performance review looming? Time to kick some goals. A Mcgill University study found that university students who wrote down detailed goals across a four-month period improved their academic performance by 30 per cent.