PSYC 180 Lecture Notes - Iatrogenesis, Premotor Cortex, Opportunity Cost

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8 May 2012
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PSYC180 February 9 Lecture
Rasputin Effect: somehow, questionable claims tend to live on despite overwhelming negative evidence
Media vs. Science
Media depictions sometimes misleading, plain wrong
Hypnosis not a zombie-like trance state, not dangerous, people don’t lose control of themselves
Little scientific evidence to believe people have multiple indwelling selves separated by amnesic
barriers and created in response to trauma
Goals of scientific enterprise and media differ
Media: tell a good story with vivid, memorable, often sensational examples; play to people’s emotions;
incorporate popular beliefs with little or no scientific support
Personal advice articulated in the language of emotion
Easy answers, quick fixes
Media commercialized
Expertise heuristic we place particular trust in people who describe themselves as experts
Advice industry fosters the idea that anything goes in psychology and medicine
Science: A Weeding Process
Science: incorrect claims tend to be weeded out eventually
In media, incorrect claims often persist because failures to replicate not newsworthy, often not recorded
What is sensational often persists
Pseudosciences
Non-science: claims that are largely devoid of research support
Non-sciences masquerading as science; are intellectual imposters of science
Lack safeguards against confirmation bias
Distinctions from sciences are at times fuzzy (like day and night, can still be distinguished)
But are marked by a set of probabilistic indicators (warning signs to practitioners and general public)
Seven Sins of Pseudoscience
1. Lack of falsifiability: claims must be stated in a way that can be falsified (refuted)
eye movement theory: can help with anxiety by training eye movement. Our current technology cannot
falsify this claim
Rorschach test
2. Emphasis on confirmation rather than refutation
Facilitated communication
3. Absence of self-correction: intellectual stagnation is a frequent characteristic
Anecdotes: don’t tell us anything about cause and effect, how representative the cases are, or how
difficult they are to verify
4. Case studies and testimonials
5. Reversed burden of proof: burden is on the skeptic, not on the proponent
Ignoratium fallacy: claim is likely to be correct just because there is not overwhelming evidence against
Burden of proof should be on the person who is making the claim
6.The use of obscurantist language gives the appearance that something is scientific but is really not
7.Absence of boundary condition claim to be effective for all people
Appeal of Non-Empirically Supported Methods
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