Carol Tavris, Ph.D.: How to Spot Pseudoneuroscience and Biobunk

“When it comes to pseudoscience, social psychologist and writer Carol A. Tavris is a self-appointed curmudgeon.”

“I have spent many years lobbing hand grenades at psychobabble — that wonderful assortment of pop psych ideas that permeate our culture in spite of having no means of empirical support,” said Tavris at the 24th APS Annual Convention.“Today, however, we face an even greater challenge because in this era of the medical-pharmaceutical-industrial complex, where psychobabble goes, can biobunk be far behind?””

Carol Tavris is one of the most engaging speakers I’ve heard. Her teaching methods, wit, wisdom, and endless wonder at the absurdities of human nature bring her audiences to laughter frequently. At the end of this post are several lectures you may find enlightening and perspective adjusting.

“Not every aspect of this “biomedical revolution,” as Tavris calls it, is unwelcome. She admitted that she gets very excited about many of these discoveries. What she takes issue with is the perception that biomedical explanations are infallible. Similar to the psychobabble that plagues psychological science, “brainless neuroscience” should be giving the field an image problem, but because most people don’t know how to spot biobunk, they are more willing to accept bad neuroscience findings over good psychological ones.”

Carol Tavris IIG.jpg *

According to Dr. Tavris there are a few surefire ways to spot biobunk:

1. Technomyopia – Technology knows more that I do

2. Murky Methods – Questionable methods are a sure sign of pseudoneuroscience. Statistical problems and artifacts are often hidden behind flashy findings. Imaging studies are one of the most common culprits

3. Rampant Reductionism Be wary of conclusions that seem too neat and simple

4. Neuromarketing – Watch out for hype and overselling. Often “neuromarketers” will hawk impressive sounding devices or treatments to desperate parents, students, and teachers that are backed by questionable science.

More Abaoaut Psychobabble and Brain Silliness

How to Spot Pseudoneuroscience and Biobunk

A Skeptical Look at Pseudoneuroscience  YouTube

Books

Psychoababbly and BioBunk: Using Psychological Science to Think Critically about Popular Psychology, 3rd Edition

Mistakes were Made (But Not by Me):Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad  Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

The Mismeasure of Woman

Psychology 10th Edition

Invitation to Psychology with DSM-5 Update

Invitition to Psychology 5th Edition

 

*Photo credit unknown, owner please contact blogger at questioningdid@gmail.com so I can offer you the byline.

Dr. Elizabeth Loftus: The Fiction of Memory

In less than 18 minutes, listen to Dr. Loftus explain how memory is easily manipulated.

The producer of this lecture, TED, “is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. TED conferences bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). For Free!

Watch video Loftus: The fiction of memory

According to TED, Elizabeth Loftus altered the course of legal history by revealing that memory is not only unreliable, but also mutable. Since the 1970s, Loftus has created an impressive body of scholarly work and has appeared as an expert witness in hundreds of courtrooms, bolstering the cases of defendants facing criminal charges based on eyewitness testimony, and debunking “recovered memory” theories popular at the time, as in her book The Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse (with Katherine Ketcham).

Since then, Loftus has dedicated herself to discovering how false memories can affect our daily lives, leading her to surprising therapeutic applications for memory modification — including controlling obesity by implanting patients with preferences for healthy foods.”

Fragmented Sleep, Fragmented Mind: A New Theory of Sleep Disruption and Dissociation

Scientific research has shed new light on dissociative symptoms and dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder. This condition seems to arise most often when a vulnerable person meets a therapist with a suggestive line of questioning or encounters sensationalized media portrayals of dissociation. Research shows that people with rich fantasy lives may be especially susceptible to such influences.   A new article published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests a mundane but surprising reason why some people might be vulnerable to dissociation: sleep problems.

The pop psychology belief is that patients develop multiple personalities to cope with traumatic experiences in their past, especially child sexual abuse. But this assumption isn’t supported by scientific evidence…Many people with dissociative disorders  do say they were abused as children, but that doesn’t mean abuse caused their condition.

A more likely explanation, Lynn says, is that dissociative identity disorder arises from a combination of cues, from therapists and from visions of multiple personalities in the media..

Lynn and his colleagues’ research further suggests that sleep problems may be one reason why some people are more vulnerable to dissociation and dissociative disorders….“We’re not arguing that this is a complete or final explanation,” Lynn says. “We just hope the word will get out and other investigators will start looking at this possibility.”

…Therapists should “be scrupulous in avoiding suggestive approaches—not only with people who may be particularly vulnerable to those procedures, but with people in general who seek help.” Also, he cautions, “if your therapist is trying to convince you that you have multiple personalities, you should find a new therapist.”

###

For more information about this study, please contact: Steven Jay Lynn at stevenlynn100@gmail.com.

Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, publishes concise reviews on the latest advances in theory and research spanning all of scientific psychology and its applications. For a copy of “Dissociation and Dissociative Disorders: Challenging Conventional Wisdom” and access to other Current Directions in Psychological Science research findings, please contact Divya Menon at 202-293-9300 or dmenon@psychologicalscience.org.

Retrieved 05/13/12.

Mind Wandering: Remembering the past and Imaginging the future share similarities

American Scientist Volume 100, Number 3

Michael Corballis

Nary a person denies the occasional bout of mental drift, and the most honest may admit considerably greater frequency and duration. To assuage their feelings, they might be interested to know that more of the brain is active during mind wandering than during structured activity. But what does such a brain state, which employs what is called the default network, accomplish? Psychologist Corballis takes us on a mental journey through the implications, which include such diverse phenomena as a sense of time—including incorporating the past to imagine the future—the ability to intuit what others are thinking and even the development of language.

Retrieved 06/05/12 http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/2012/3/mind-wandering

%d bloggers like this: