Fake pills boost memory

Can a substance with no physiologically active properties affect memory performance?

That's the basis of research by Victoria University graduate Sophie Parker which focused on how placebos can improve our memories of the past (retrospective memory) and help us remember to do things in the future (prospective memory).

"I was interested in what would happen when people were given an inert substance that they thought had cognitive enhancing properties, and how that might affect the way people monitor information."

As part of her PhD research, Dr Parker set up three elaborate trials of a placebo cognitive enhancing drug with around 300 first year psychology students.

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