Nicky Quinn



The importance of placebo processes in the experience of nausea

PhD, 2013 to 2016

School of Psychology, University of Sydney


Nausea is a complex and widespread problem that is caused through a multitude of pathways of which many are poorly understood. It has been proposed that the placebo effect may be able to account for the cause or worsening of nausea in many patient populations. Within placebo expectation, both instruction and conditioning have been found to predict the severity and frequency of nausea in laboratory and clinical demonstrations, but many of these have been undertaken in different areas of research and are poorly integrated. My PhD explored the formation and reduction of expectation for nausea by integrating instruction and conditioning to create a holistic perspective of its development. Although the project focused on these mechanisms in healthy participants using vestibular stimulation, we hope that these findings can eventually be applied clinically in the chemotherapy or postoperative context to reduce nausea in patient populations.

Publications (from PhD and associated work)

Quinn, V. F., Livesey, E. J. & Colagiuri, B. (in press). Latent inhibition reduces nocebo nausea, even without deception. Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Quinn, V. F. & Colagiuri, B. (2016). Sources of placebo-induced relief from nausea: the role of instruction and conditioning. Psychosomatic Medicine, 78: 365-372. ↓pdf

Colagiuri, B., Quinn, V. F., & Colloca, L. (2015). Nocebo hyperalgesia, partial reinforcement, and extinction. Journal of Pain, 16: 995-1004. ↓pdf

Quinn, V. F. & Colagiuri, B. (2015). Placebo interventions for nausea: a systematic review. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 49: 449-462. ↓pdf

Quinn, V. F., MacDougall, H. G., & Colagiuri, B. (2015). Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation: a new model of placebo-induced nausea. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 78: 484-488. ↓pdf


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