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Fraud Case Seen as a Red Flag for Psychology Research

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by kaffiend, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. kaffiend

    kaffiend Senior Member

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    Dolphin likes this.
  2. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    So how do we get a formal investigation into the ME/CFS psych papers that are obvious crap?
  3. wdb

    wdb Admin

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    ME/CFS research in a nutshell

  4. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    We club together and pay someone respectable to do it, then we make it public and send it to the government.

    Not sure how much it would cost, but its not prohibitively expensive if we club together.
  5. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Great news kaffiend - I did psychology as a module in my Arts Degree many years ago, it looked suspicious then - more "art" than science.
  6. Jenny

    Jenny Senior Member

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    'Suspicious'?

    As an academic psychologist and journal editor I have to say something to defend my profession! I don't think the number of charlatans and the amount of sloppy research is any more than in any other field.

    In fact, in comparison to medical researchers, psychologists tend to use much more rigorous and sophisticated methodologies and statistical techniques.

    I agree that much more transparency is needed, particularly in regard to the availability of raw data, but this is the case in many disciplines, not just psychology.

    Many areas of psychology are at the cutting edge of science - cognitive and neuropsychology, for example. I really don't see how most fields of psychology can be described as arts disciplines.

    Jenny
  7. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    As Twain famously said, there are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics. As someone coming from a finance background, numbers can be manipulated to say whatever someone wants them to say. The reason I have a problem with most psychology oriented studies/research is that they are frequently based on subjective questionnaires and observations. It is so prone to researcher bias it isn't even funny. Personally, I see psychology being helpful in marketing but not in medical science. The "real" science is in neurology. IMO psychology only exists in its current form is due to the marketing departments of Merk et al.

    http://psychotherapeuticdrugs.com/index.php/antidepressants/role-of-the-pharmaceutical-industry
  8. Jenny

    Jenny Senior Member

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    Hi floyd

    Yes, of course numbers can be manipulated and yes, self-reports are often used in some branches of psychology because we don't yet have any other way to understand how people think and feel. (And even Freud acknowledged that psychology would eventually be taken over by neuroscience.)

    But my point is that the same can be said of many other disciplines, including medicine, and I would say that in general psychologists pay much more explicit attention to the strengths and weaknesses of the tools they use than medics too. You very rarely see a piece of medical research that examines possible researcher bias, but a thorough analysis of this is obligatory if a psychologist wants to publish in a reputable journal. In fact medical researchers can learn a lot from psychologists - the department I used to work in runs a masters degree programme for doctors who want to carry out research.

    Not sure that you mean when you say that psychology only exists in its current form because of marketing depts. Psychology's roots lie in a range of disciplines and current research and practice draws on areas as diverse as behaviourism, psychoanalysis, psychometrics, neuroscience, ergonomics etc.

    Jenny
  9. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Problem is, relaly, you simply cannot do much "hard" science in that field, because of vast variations in data (people are very VERY complex unlike what some bloody idiots claimed) and ethics (you cannot repeat an experiment on a Human Being a million times, nor in a tiny fraction of a second, like you can with physics)
    and quite obviously, it's utterly unnacceptable to do brain vivisection to get solid data

    thus, you are left with the very "fuzzy" methods of data gathering and study we have, it is indeed art as much science. Better that than the alternative, though, but it does let gasbags like the "psychobabblers" run rampant, which needs to be stopped.

    Another issue IMHO is that the field attracts those with serious mental disturbance, for a bunch of reasons
    great place for a monster to hide, a charlatan to use flimflam when you cannot have hard rigour to easily expose them, or to understand their own flaws and perhaps aid others.
  10. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    The danger of course is misuse of anything "psycho". Ten years ago collapsed in A & E a pyschiatrist told me I was imagining "all in your mind"and he was a medical man too.
  11. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    That doesn't sound right to me. Certainly not for CFS psychological research, but even good psychological research (ie stuff that conforms to my own presumptions) seems to have way too much faith in psychological tools/questionnaires/measures, and rarely goes to the trouble of exploring the possible problems with them.

    There are lots of things I like about psychology as an academic profession, but the problems raised in the NYT pieces fitted pretty well with my own concerns about the culture that surrounds a lot of psychology.

    I'm not sure if the 'art vs science' debate is that useful. Where would sociology come? I do think that there is a danger of some people assuming that psychology is a hard science, founded only upon clear and objective data, and thus feeling able to trust the claims of a psychologist in the way which they would not a sociologist.
  12. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    Sure the roots may exist there but is that where most of the research and money is being generated? I would posit that psychology today is mostly about ADHD, convincing people that their problems are rooted in "depression". My point is that the marketing departments have warped the traditional tenets of psychology in order to peddle their expensive "remedies". Feel free to debate that point. I am only speaking as a layman who has seen how most MDs hand out even expensive anti-depressants like candy - despite absolutely no evidence in many cases. Not sure how the evidence-based medicine crowd can reconcile this.
  13. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Enid
    Well, the Great Old Ones of the Medical Establishment have laid down Holy Writ, saying that it is indeed, all in our heads
    So let it be written, so let it be done! *he says like Yul Brynner*
    And it was! ;)

    I think Richard Dawkins should do some stuff on the quack, er, medical world, as the similarities between them and nutcase religious extremists are so profound! :p
  14. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    From another thread (and study): Psychology and Psychiatry came out worst in the Hierarchy of the Sciences:
    http://forums.phoenixrising.me/show...ase-Down-the-Hierarchy-of-the-Sciences-(2009)

  15. Jenny

    Jenny Senior Member

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    Silverblade - sure, people are complex - so do we give up on trying to understand this complexity? What's your evidence that psychology attracts those with serious mental disturbance? Personality differences in choice of career was something I researched for years and used in developing career counselling techniques and I'm not aware of any evidence for this.

    Esther - all the journals I edited, reviewed for and published in required a critical examination of tools and methods. It's a shame so little good quality research filters down to the general public.

    Floyd - the field of psychology covers a huge area of human experience and activity (eg child development, cognition and perception, well-being at work, forensic issues and mental health generally.) ADHD is a minute area! Most research on depression is carried out by biological scientists, not psychologists. Yes, doctors do over-prescribe anti-depressants, but this isn't psychologists' fault. They are more likely to use non-drug treatments.

    Dolphin - I'm sure space science is more rigorous in terms of adhering to the scientific method than social sciences are. But there are lots of reasons for this, and some argue than interpretivist methods are more appropriate in studying people. These have their own rigour.
  16. max

    max *****

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    Hi Jenny

    Any branch of medicine (as shrinks claim their chosen subject is) that can produce a statement that they present to a government funded research machine (the MRC) that provides themselves (the shrinks) and insurance companies with more money at the expense of patients is to me, nothing more than a scam - Psychology/psychiatry is guess work - it belongs in the dark ages or in the distant future where science has understood the workings of the mind. Evidence for psychology/psychiatry being at that point now is plainly lacking - please see the treatment of ME patients for the last 20-30 years for proof.

    What is more worrying is the manipulation of subjective opinion that those involved in the field rely on. At the heart of any inhuman treatment carried out in the last hundred years including torture, warfare, government spin, etc you will find a psychiatrist. I remember watching the TV news reporting the Japan earthquake where the BBC had a shrink in the studio - he was positively foaming at the mouth and smiling as he let slip that 'it' (the aftermath of suffering that would entail) would be an ideal opportunity to study behaviour.

    I feel sorry for any student that has wasted an opportunity for education by following this subject - it is a religeon, it is a tool of manipulation, it is not science. For years shrinks have been desparate to stand within medical science - for years they have shown themselves not to be worthy of such respect.

    ........ The statement to the MRC regarding treatment of ME patients............

    "The first duty of the doctor is to support as much function as possible and avoid the legitimisation of symptoms and reinforcement of disability"

    The vehemence with which many patients insist that their illness is medical rather than psychiatric has become one of the hallmarks of the condition.Purchasers and Health Care providers with hard pressed budgets are understandably reluctant to spend money on patients who are not going to die and for whom there is controversy about the reality of their condition (and who) are in this sense undeserving of treatment.Those who cannot be fitted into a scheme of objective bodily illness yet refuse to be placed into and accept the stigma of mental illness remain the undeserving sick of our society and our health service (ME. What do we know -- real physical illness or all in the mind? Lecture given in October 1999 by Michael Sharpe, hosted by the University of Strathclyde).

    Psychiatry today is where astronomy was 400 years ago - they are repeatidly shown evidence of physical illness and yet, in order to protect the financial and control interests of others and themselves, they are willing to let people suffer and die.

    I expect science will eventually reveal the true nature of the mind - and it will also provide explanation of all so called psychological problems that exist and that are misdiagnosed by shrinks. It is unforgivable that humans are subjected to psychiatric treatment through poorly understood drug involvement regimes - it scares me rigid that a psychiatrist presumes he/she can enter my home, accompanied by the police, and without my consent, can subject me to months of incarceration and theoretical forced drug treatment all on their subjective opinion. It is barberic and frankly unforgivable.

    Consent is the issue - psychiatry has no respect for human individuality - any 'body' that attempts to take away my consent to any aspect of my life is wrong and is a crime against humanity.
  17. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

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    In case anyone doesn't know, a psychiatrist is a qualified medical doctor who goes on to do specialist exams in psychiatry.
    A psychologist doesn't have a medical degree.

    For anyone who doesn't know, Thomas Szasz makes some interesting criticisms of psychiatry although his solutions are quite extreme: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Szasz and http://www.szasz.com .
  18. wdb

    wdb Admin

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    Hi Jenny

    I've been often disappointed with the quality of evidence I have seen in published psychological trials but as you say this may just be because the really rigorous research does not often filter down to the public. I'm genuinely curious, would you be able to explain a bit about how a psychological intervention such as CBT for treating ME could be properly assessed, what tools and methods could be implemented to effectively control for the many sources of experimental bias and placebo that are present in un-blinded trials.
  19. Jenny

    Jenny Senior Member

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    Blimey - you really hate us don't you Max. I'm very sorry to hear about your awful experiences. But are you talking about psychiatrists or psychologists? Psychology is not a branch of medicine. It is mainly psychiatrists like Wessley who have had the disastrous influence on the treatment of ME.

    I chose to become a psychologist to have an effect on healthy people's quality of life, specifically in the area of career counselling. I think I made a difference over 40 years- my research influenced government policy on career guidance and informed the training of career counsellors. Many psychologists feel the same about their work, for good reason.

    Jenny
  20. max

    max *****

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    Hi Jenny

    The cigarette paper that barely squeezes itself between psychology and psychiatry is one that cannot separate the two. Psychologists sit next to psychiatrists, they share the same incorrect illness beliefs. Psychologists are like squaddies are to Generals - they appear content to absorb the crap that filters down from psychiatric 'research' - psychological intervention has played a vital role in the abuse inflicted on ME patients - psychologists interfere in family relationships, psychologists believe they know better than the individual concerned.

    Psychologists believe they understand the 'mind' - they believe they can predict the future thoughts and behaviour of an individual.

    I don't hate you (psychologist and/or psychiatrist) - very telling that you infer you know my thoughts - I pity you - I pity your arrogance that you claim to understand the 'mind', that you claim to know my emotions concerning any subject.

    At least you get a good pension out of it. Just try to forget the damage inflicted on others who were unfortunate enough to cross the path of a 'trained mind reader'.

    I'm glad you feel your 40 years has been worthwhile - I'm worried your 'research' has influenced any government policy - but there you go, the fact that shrink research influences anything says it all.

    My life is mine, my thoughts and beliefs are mine, you as a psychologist have no right whatsoever to interfere in my life or my thoughts. You have no rights to inflict a drug regime on any individual without their consent because of your beliefs - yes I understand that you as a psychologist cannot write a prescription, but you can influence a GP or a psychiatrist to do so on your behalf.

    Humans do not require the services of 'mind' doctors - they require support, from time to time they will require the medical intervention of science - but the claim by shrinks (of whatever denomination) that they understand the complexity of human behaviour is fraud.

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