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Is there evidence for “because it's boring, it's very easy to make errors”

Is there evidence for “because it's boring, it's very easy to make errors”


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There seems to be a common view in programming / software engineering:

“because it's boring, it's very easy to make errors”

And then the solution to this is often to introduce some level(s) of abstraction to avoid what is classed as boring.

What's the evidence to justify this?


The quote is from lecturer of a Haskell course I am taking right now, https://afp-2017.github.io/index.html .

A quick Google reveals similar statements, such as

Repetition easily induces mistakes

from "Secure Development for Mobile Apps: How to Design and Code Secure Mobile Applications with PHP and JavaScript" by J.D. Glaser

I think I have heard similar statements from professional software engineers, relating to justifying more levels of abstraction in code. However, I am unable to think of specific other instances.


Short answer
There is scientific evidence that boredom can increase error rates.

Background
My gut feeling would tell me that boredom decreases vigilance, which then would increase the chance of errors. Vigilance being defined as sustained attention (Oken, 2006).

And indeed, vigilance has been directly linked to boredom, and more specifically, boredom decreases the amount of vigilance. In fact, an accepted measure of vigilance is the error rate in task performance (Pattyn et al., 2008), based on earlier observations that motor task performance decreases with lower vigilance levels (MacWorth, 1968).

Another way to measure alertness or vigilance is with EEG. Generally, low EEG frequencies are associated with sleepiness and reduces alertness (Delta band with 0 - 4 Hz oscillations), while high frequencies are associated with alert states (Gamma band at >30 Hz). Figure 1 shows that EEGs with low frequencies are associated with higher error rates (Oken, 2006).


Fig. 1. Error rates plotted against EEG spectral frequencies. As time went by, the subject lost attentiveness, EEG frequencies went down and error rates went up. source: (Oken, 2006)

References
- MacWorth, Can J Psychol (1964); 18: 209-23
- Oken et al., Clin Neurophysiol (2006); 117(9): 1885-901
- Pattyn et al., Physiology & Behavior (2008); 93(1-2): 69-378


Lying Is Good For You

If I told you lying was good for you, you probably wouldn’t believe me. But trust me--I’m not lying.

Simply put, we lie because it works. When we do it well, we get what we want.

We lie to avoid awkwardness or punishment. We lie to maintain relationships and please others. And, of course, most of all we lie to please ourselves. Whether we’re embellishing our credentials or strengthening our stories, we often tell untruths to make ourselves appear and feel better.

What's more, we lie all the time. In 2002, Robert Feldman, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, conducted a study in which he secretly videotaped student’s conversations with strangers. After the fact, he had the students examine the videotapes and identify the untruths. On average, they claim to have told three lies per ten minutes of conversation.

And that number is likely far too low. First, we’re likely to underreport the number of lies we tell (we lie about lying, that is). And Feldman’s study only accounted for lies of the verbal variety, ignoring other deceptive behavior--misleading body language or facial expressions, for example.

In fact, we lie so readily that the dishonesty becomes automatic. Most of the time, we’re not even aware of the lies we tell, explains David Smith, director of the New England Institute at the University of New England and author of Why We Lie. He says we lie best when we don’t know we’re lying. “We don’t have the nervousness or broadcast the tell-tale signs of unease that the intentional liar can barely help,” he explains. “Self-deception is the handmaiden of deceit--in hiding the truth from ourselves, we’re able to hide it more fully from others.”

But why are we so dishonest so often? Isn’t honesty always the best policy? In fact, no. Nobody wants to hear that they look heavier or less attractive. In truth, we consider those who are too honest to be blunt, antisocial and even pathological. A recent study found that adolescents who are most popular with their peers were the ones that were the best at being deceptive.

And lying has proven psychological benefits. For instance, there’s scientific evidence showing that depressive people are more honest with themselves than nondepressive, or mentally healthy, people. When people recover from their depressions, they become less honest.

Strangely enough, despite the frequency with which we lie, we are pretty bad at it. Lying--at least the intentional kind--isn’t easy. “It takes more work to tell a lie than it does to tell the truth,” says Maureen O’Sullivan, professor of psychology at the University of San Francisco. “You have to not only make up something, but also watch me to make sure I’m believing you.”

But don't worry too much. People are easily fooled. “There is no Pinocchio’s nose,” explains Paul Ekman, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California, San Francisco. “There’s no sign that is always present when someone lies and always absent when someone is truthful.” As a result, research shows that we’re only slightly better than chance level at detecting deception.

“Our default assumption is that people are telling the truth,” says Feldman. And often, we don’t actually want to hear the truth. If we hear what we want to hear, we accept it, true or not.

Take the example of evaluating a colleague’s work. When we ask a friend if we did a good job, we want the response to be yes, regardless of its legitimacy. Once we hear it, we’re unmotivated to probe further.

“So while we’d like to say we value honesty, we also value dishonesty,” says the University of New England’s Smith. After all, we’ve been taught the importance of lying from a very early age. The catch is, we don’t call it lying, we call it tact or social grace.


‘Stroke of genius’

Exploring time-reversed versions of established psychological phenomena was “a stroke of genius”, says the sceptical Krueger. Previous research in parapsychology has used idiosyncratic set-ups such as Ganzfeld experiments, in which volunteers listen to white noise and are presented with a uniform visual field to create a state allegedly conducive to effects including clairvoyance and telepathy. By contrast, Bem set out to provide tests that mainstream psychologists could readily evaluate.

The effects he recorded were small but statistically significant. In another test, for instance, volunteers were told that an erotic image was going to appear on a computer screen in one of two positions, and asked to guess in advance which position that would be. The image’s eventual position was selected at random, but volunteers guessed correctly 53.1 per cent of the time.

That may sound unimpressive – truly random guesses would have been right 50 per cent of the time, after all. But well-established phenomena such as the ability of low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks are based on similarly small effects, notes Melissa Burkley of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, who has also blogged about Bem’s work at Psychology Today.


The Five Best Books on Evidence-Based Therapy

If you want to explore the more in-depth discussions of Evidence-Based Therapy and how to incorporate it into your own practice, consider picking up these five books on EBT.

1. Psychodynamic Therapy: A Guide To Evidence-Based Practice – Richard Summers and Jacques Barber

This is a good book for therapists who wish to practice evidence-based psychodynamic therapy.

While psychodynamic therapy has been around for a long time, this book aims to incorporate new movements in psychology, including positive psychology, to provide an up-to-date picture of what Evidence-Based Therapy looks like when it comes to psychodynamic therapy.

This makes it an especially good option for psychodynamic therapists who believe in the positive psychology movement.

2. Clinician’s Guide to Research Methods in Family Therapy: Foundations of Evidence-Based Practice, First Edition – Lee Williams, JoEllen Patterson, and Todd Edwards

This book is all about Evidence-Based Therapy for marriage and family therapists.

It also focuses on applying the teachings of the book into one’s practice, so it can be an actionable book. Any marriage and family therapist who wants to incorporate Evidence-Based Therapy into their practice can start with this book.

3. Evidence-Based Practice of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Second Edition – Deborah Dobson and Keith Dobson

Since cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the strongest evidence-based therapies out there, it is important to include a book that discusses CBT specifically.

This book discusses the literature surrounding CBT and also how to incorporate these findings into a clinical practice. Any therapist who uses or wishes to use CBT will get a lot out of this book.

4. Casebook of Evidence-Based Therapy for Eating Disorders, First Edition – Heather Thompson-Brenner

As the title suggests, this book focuses on Evidence-Based Therapy dealing with eating disorders.

It accomplishes this by focusing on a few case studies so that one can see what it looks like to deploy these evidence-based treatment plans in practice.

This is an excellent option for anyone who deals with eating disorders and wants to learn through example.

5. The Evidence-Based Practitioner: Applying Research to Meet Client Needs, First Edition – Catana Brown

Finally, this book doesn’t focus on any particular disorder and doesn’t even focus on therapy itself.

This is a guide to incorporating evidence-based practices for all sorts of medicinal fields, including doctors as well as therapists.

While it is not written specifically for therapists, it does teach the reader step-by-step how they can incorporate evidence-based techniques into their own practice.

This is an excellent option for anyone interest in Evidence-Based Therapy since it is not specific to a disorder and discusses the entire process of evaluating the literature to incorporating it into one’s practice.


Scientists Find One Source of Prayer’s Power

The religious find strength through God this we know. But a new study conducted by Prof. Malt Friese and Michaela Wanke suggests that even non-believers can get in on the action. In a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, they present evidence showing how and why prayer might increase anyone&rsquos ability to resist temptation. Though we can all agree that to do so requires self-control, the authors propose that the source of such control might not be supernatural. Instead, it might come from something more earthly. Something accessible to even the most devoted atheist: social connection.

The authors ground their study of prayer&rsquos power in something called the &ldquostrength model&rdquo of self-control. The strength model suggests that our cognitive resources, like our physical resources, are limited. Going for a 1 mile jog would be incredibly difficult right after you&rsquove gone for a 30 mile jog, and resisting even the smallest temptation can be incredibly difficult if you&rsquove just spent an hour resisting larger ones. We run out of gas. So, how do we replenish these cognitive resources, or even increase our cognitive &ldquoendurance&rdquo? Gatorade and pasta? Researchers have, in all seriousness, found that ingestion of glucose can indeed increase self-control, but the scientists here proposed that prayer might be another means through which individuals protect themselves from breakdowns of will. Indeed, past work had already suggested such a relationship, showing that priming participants with words related to religion (e.g God, divine) buffered them against the effects of cognitive depletion.

The authors made use of two experimental paradigms to test the efficacy of prayer in preventing cognitive depletion. The first, called an emotion-suppression task, simply asked participants to watch a funny video but stifle all emotional responses, verbal and non-verbal, to the content. This requires a good amount of cognitive energy to pull off successfully. The second, called a stroop task, asked participants to indicate the ink color of various words flashed to them on a computer screen. The trick is that the words spell the names of various colors that are either consistent or inconsistent with the ink they are to identify. Check it out here. You&rsquoll find that the inconsistent word/ink items are harder to respond to than the consistent items. Researchers have found that after cognitive depletion, this task becomes even harder. So, the authors had an elegant methodological question: will people who pray be able to avoid the depleting effects of emotion suppression and not show a deficit on the stroop task? In other words, will prayer give them the cognitive strength to perform well on both these challenging tasks?

Indeed it did. Participants who were asked to pray about a topic of their choosing for five minutes showed significantly better performance on the stroop task after emotion suppression, compared to participants who were simply asked to think about a topic of their choosing. And this effect held regardless of whether participants identified as religious (70 percent) or not.

Why? The authors tested several possible explanations, but found statistical support for only one: people interpret prayer as a social interaction with God, and social interactions are what give us the cognitive resources necessary to avoid temptation. Past research has found that even brief social interactions with others can promote cognitive functioning, and the same seems to hold true for brief social interactions with deities.

This does not rule out the possibility that prayer has other effects on resisting temptation, and the spiritually inclined could see the hand of God as another causal factor here. But as the holidays approach, it reminds us all of where we derive so much of our day-to-day strength. Interacting and connecting with the people around us.


[Fibromyalgia syndrome as a psychosomatic disorder - diagnosis and therapy according to current evidence-based guidelines]

Objectives: The classification and therapy of patients with chronic widespread pain without evidence of somatic factors as an explanation is currently a matter of debate. The diagnostic label "fibromyalgia syndrome"(FMS) has been rejected by some representatives of general and psychosomatic medicine.

Methods: A summary is given of the main recommendations from current evidence-based guidelines on FMS and nonspecific/functional/somatoform bodily complaints.

Results: The criteria of FMS and of persistent somatoform pain disorder or chronic pain disorder with somatic and psychological factors partly overlap. They include differential clinical characteristics of persons with chronic widespread pain but without sufficiently explaining somatic factors. Not all patients diagnosed with FMS meet the criteria of a persistent somatoform pain disorder. FMS is a functional disorder, in which in most patients psychosocial factors play an important role in both the etiology and course of illness. FMS can be diagnosed by looking at the history of a typical symptom cluster and excluding somatic differential diagnoses (without a tender point examination) using the modified 2010 diagnostic criteria of the American College of Rheumatology. Various levels of severity of FMS can be distinguished from a psychosomatic point of view, ranging from slight (single functional syndrome) to severe (meeting the criteria of multiple functional syndromes) forms of chronic pain disorder with somatic and psychological factors, of persistent somatoform pain disorder or of a somatization disorder. The diagnosis of FMS as a functional syndrome/stress-associated disorder should be explicitly communicated to the patient. A therapy within collaborative care adapted to the severity should be provided. For long-term management, nonpharmacological therapies such as aerobic exercise are recommended. In more severe cases, psychotherapy of comorbid mental disorders should be conducted.

Conclusions: The coordinated recommendations of both guidelines can synthesize general medical, somatic, and psychosocial perspectives, and can promote graduated care of patients diagnosed with FMS.


Contents

During a typical EFT session, the person will focus on a specific issue while tapping on "end points of the body's energy meridians." EFT tapping exercises combine elements of cognitive restructuring and exposure techniques with acupoint stimulation. [7] The technique instructs individuals to tap on meridian endpoints of the body – such as the top of the head, eye brows, under eyes, side of eyes, chin, collar bone, and under the arms. While tapping, they recite specific phrases that target an emotional component of a physical symptom.

According to the EFT manual, the procedure consists of the participant rating the emotional intensity of their reaction on a Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS) – i.e., a Likert scale for subjective measures of distress, calibrated 0 to 10 – then repeating an orienting affirmation while rubbing or tapping specific points on the body. Some practitioners incorporate eye movements or other tasks. The emotional intensity is then rescored and repeated until no changes are noted in the emotional intensity. [1]

Proponents of EFT and other similar treatments believe that tapping/stimulating acupuncture points provide the basis for significant improvement in psychological problems. [8] However, the theory and mechanisms underlying the supposed effectiveness of EFT have "no evidentiary support" "in the entire history of the sciences of biology, anatomy, physiology, neurology, physics, or psychology." Researchers have described the theoretical model for EFT as "frankly bizarre" and "pseudoscientific." [3] One review noted that one of the highest quality studies found no evidence that the location of tapping points made any difference, and attributed effects to well-known psychological mechanisms, including distraction and breathing therapy. [3] [9]

An article in the Skeptical Inquirer argued that there is no plausible mechanism to explain how the specifics of EFT could add to its effectiveness, and they have been described as unfalsifiable and therefore pseudoscientific. [2] Evidence has not been found for the existence of meridians. [10]

A 2009 review found "methodological flaws" in research studies that had reported "small successes" for EFT and the related Tapas Acupressure Technique. The review concluded that positive results may be "attributable to well-known cognitive and behavioral techniques that are included with the energy manipulation. Psychologists and researchers should be wary of using such techniques, and make efforts to inform the public about the ill effects of therapies that advertise miraculous claims." [11]

A systematic review from 2016 found that EFT was effective in reducing anxiety compared to controls, but also called for more research comparing its effectiveness to that of established treatments. [12] However, a 2020 article titled "The current status of energy psychology: Extraordinary claims with less than ordinary evidence" reported that EFT has no useful effect as a therapy beyond the placebo effect. It claims that proponents of EFT have published material claiming otherwise, but their work is flawed and hence unreliable. In short, it concludes that high-quality research has never confirmed that EFT is effective. [3]

A Delphi poll of an expert panel of psychologists rated EFT on a scale describing how discredited EFT has been in the field of psychology. On average, this panel found EFT had a score of 3.8 on a scale from 1.0 to 5.0, with 3.0 meaning "possibly discredited" and a 4.0 meaning "probably discredited." [4] A book examining pseudoscientific practices in psychology characterized EFT as one of a number of "fringe psychotherapeutic practices," [5] and a psychiatry handbook states EFT has "all the hallmarks of pseudoscience." [6]

EFT, along with its predecessor, Thought Field Therapy, has been dismissed with warnings to avoid their use by publications such as The Skeptic's Dictionary [13] and Quackwatch. [14]

Proponents of EFT and other energy psychology therapies have been "particularly interested" in seeking "scientific credibility" despite the implausible proposed mechanisms for EFT. [3] A 2008 review by energy psychology proponent David Feinstein concluded that energy psychology was a potential "rapid and potent treatment for a range of psychological conditions." [15] However, this work by Feinstein has been widely criticized. One review criticized Feinstein's methodology, noting he ignored several research papers that did not show positive effects of EFT, and that Feinstein did not disclose his conflict of interest as an owner of a website that sells energy psychology products such as books and seminars, contrary to the best practices of research publication. [16] Another review criticized Feinstein's conclusion, which was based on research of weak quality and instead concluded that any positive effects of EFT are due to the more traditional psychological techniques rather than any putative "energy" manipulation. [11] A book published on the subject of evidence-based treatment of substance abuse called Feinstein's review "incomplete and misleading" and an example of a poorly performed evidence-based review of research. [17]

Feinstein published another review in 2012, concluding that energy psychology techniques "consistently demonstrated strong effect sizes and other positive statistical results that far exceed chance after relatively few treatment sessions." [8] This review was also criticized, where again it was noted that Feinstein dismissed higher quality studies which showed no effects of EFT, in favor of methodologically weaker studies which did show a positive effect. [3]


Contents

In the 1930s, at Duke University in North Carolina, J. B. Rhine and his wife Louisa E. Rhine conducted investigation into extrasensory perception. While Louisa Rhine concentrated on collecting accounts of spontaneous cases, J. B. Rhine worked largely in the laboratory, carefully defining terms such as ESP and psi and designing experiments to test them. A simple set of cards was developed, originally called Zener cards [5] – now called ESP cards. They bear the symbols circle, square, wavy lines, cross, and star. There are five of each type of card in a pack of 25.

In a telepathy experiment, the "sender" looks at a series of cards while the "receiver" guesses the symbols. To try to observe clairvoyance, the pack of cards is hidden from everyone while the receiver guesses. To try to observe precognition, the order of the cards is determined after the guesses are made. Later he used dice to test for psychokinesis. [6] [7]

The parapsychology experiments at Duke evoked criticism from academics and others who challenged the concepts and evidence of ESP. A number of psychological departments attempted, unsuccessfully, to repeat Rhine's experiments. W. S. Cox (1936) from Princeton University with 132 subjects produced 25,064 trials in a playing card ESP experiment. Cox concluded "There is no evidence of extrasensory perception either in the 'average man' or of the group investigated or in any particular individual of that group. The discrepancy between these results and those obtained by Rhine is due either to uncontrollable factors in experimental procedure or to the difference in the subjects." [8] Four other psychological departments failed to replicate Rhine's results. [9]

In 1938, the psychologist Joseph Jastrow wrote that much of the evidence for extrasensory perception collected by Rhine and other parapsychologists was anecdotal, biased, dubious and the result of "faulty observation and familiar human frailties". [10] Rhine's experiments were discredited due to the discovery that sensory leakage or cheating could account for all his results such as the subject being able to read the symbols from the back of the cards and being able to see and hear the experimenter to note subtle clues. [11] [12] [13] [14]

In the 1960s parapsychologists became increasingly interested in the cognitive components of ESP, the subjective experience involved in making ESP responses, and the role of ESP in psychological life. This called for experimental procedures that were not limited to Rhine's favored forced-choice methodology. Such procedures have included dream telepathy experiments, and the ganzfeld experiments (a mild sensory deprivation procedure). [15] [16] [17]

Second sight may have originally been so called because normal vision was regarded as coming first, while supernormal vision is a secondary thing, confined to certain individuals. [18] An dà shealladh or "the two sights", meaning "the sight of the seer", is the way Gaels refer to "second sight", the involuntary ability of seeing the future or distant events. There are many Gaelic words for the various aspects of second sight, but an dà shealladh is the one mostly recognized by non-Gaelic speakers, even though, strictly speaking, it does not really mean second sight, but rather "two sights". [a]

Parapsychology is the study of paranormal psychic phenomena, including ESP. Parapsychology has been criticized for continuing investigation despite being unable to provide convincing evidence for the existence of any psychic phenomena after more than a century of research. [20] The scientific community rejects ESP due to the absence of an evidence base, the lack of a theory which would explain ESP and the lack of positive experimental results it considers ESP to be pseudoscience. [21] [22] [23] [24] [25]

The scientific consensus does not view extrasensory perception as a scientific phenomenon. [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] Skeptics have pointed out that there is no viable theory to explain the mechanism behind ESP, and that there are historical cases in which flaws have been discovered in the experimental design of parapsychological studies. [33]

There are many criticisms pertaining to experiments involving extrasensory perception, particularly surrounding methodological flaws. These flaws are not unique to a single experimental design, and are effective in discrediting much of the positive research surrounding ESP. Many of the flaws seen in the Zener cards experiment are present in the Ganzfeld experiment as well. First is the stacking effect, an error that occurs in ESP research. Trial-by-trial feedback given in studies using a “closed” ESP target sequence (e.g., a deck of cards) violates the condition of independence used for most standard statistical tests. Multiple responses for a single target cannot be evaluated using statistical tests that assume independence of responses. This increases likelihood of card counting and in turn, increases the chances for the subject to guess correctly without using ESP. Another methodological flaw involves cues through sensory leakage. For example, when the subject receives a visual cue. This could be the reflection of a Zener card in the holder's glasses. In this case, the subject is able to guess the card correctly because they can see it in the reflection, not because of ESP. Finally, poor randomization of target stimuli could be happening. Poor shuffling methods can make the orders of the cards easier to predict, or the cards could’ve been marked and manipulated, again, making it easier to predict which cards come next. [34] The results of a meta-analysis found that when these errors were corrected and accounted for, there was still no significant effect of ESP. Many of the studies only appeared to have significant occurrence of ESP, when in fact, this result was due to the many methodological errors in the research.

Dermo-optical perception Edit

In the early 20th century, Joaquin María Argamasilla, known as the "Spaniard with X-ray Eyes", claimed to be able to read handwriting or numbers on dice through closed metal boxes. Argamasilla managed to fool Gustav Geley and Charles Richet into believing he had genuine psychic powers. [35] In 1924, he was exposed by Harry Houdini as a fraud. Argamasilla peeked through his simple blindfold and lifted up the edge of the box so he could look inside it without others noticing. [36]

Science writer Martin Gardner has written that the ignorance of blindfold deception methods has been widespread in investigations into objects at remote locations from persons who claim to possess second sight. Gardner documented various conjuring techniques psychics such as Rosa Kuleshova, Lina Anderson and Nina Kulagina have used to peek from their blindfolds to deceive investigators into believing they used second sight. [37]


Commentary: Physiological and Psychological Impact of Face Mask Usage during the COVID-19 Pandemic

In this commentary, we discuss the physiological effects of wearing masks for prolonged periods of time, including special considerations, such as mask wearing among those who engage in exercise training, and concerns for individuals with pre-existing chronic diseases. In healthy populations, wearing a mask does not appear to cause any harmful physiological alterations, and the potentially life-saving benefits of wearing face masks seem to outweigh the documented discomforts (e.g. headaches). However, there continues to be controversy over mask wearing in the United States, even though wearing a mask appears to have only minor physiological drawbacks. While there are minimal physiological impacts on wearing a mask, theoretical evidence suggests that there may be consequential psychological impacts of mask wearing on the basic psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness. These psychological impacts may contribute to the controversy associated with wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. After we discuss the physiological impacts of mask wearing, we will discuss psychological effects associated with wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19 basic phycological needs exercise face covering masks pandemic physiology.


Is cannabis treatment for anxiety, mood, and related disorders ready for prime time?

Anxiety and related disorders are the most common mental conditions affecting the North American population. Despite their established efficacy, first-line antidepressant treatments are associated with significant side effects, leading many afflicted individuals to seek alternative treatments. Cannabis is commonly viewed as a natural alternative for a variety of medical and mental health conditions. Currently, anxiety ranks among the top five medical symptoms for which North Americans report using medical marijuana. However, upon careful review of the extant treatment literature, the anxiolytic effects of cannabis in clinical populations are surprisingly not well-documented. The effects of cannabis on anxiety and mood symptoms have been examined in healthy populations and in several small studies of synthetic cannabinoid agents but there are currently no studies which have examined the effects of the cannabis plant on anxiety and related disorders. In light of the rapidly shifting landscape regarding the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, it is important to highlight the significant disconnect between the scientific literature, public opinion, and related policies. The aim of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of the current cannabis treatment literature, and to identify the potential for cannabis to be used as a therapeutic intervention for anxiety, mood, and related disorders. Searches of five electronic databases were conducted (PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Science, PsychINFO, and Google Scholar), with the most recent in February 2017. The effects of cannabis on healthy populations and clinical psychiatric samples will be discussed, focusing primarily on anxiety and mood disorders.

Keywords: anxiety disorders cannabis treatment depression endocannabinoids marijuana.


Dual Process Approach to Attitude Change

According to dual process models of attitude change, research on this topic can be organized according to two general types of processes: (1) those that occur when one puts forth relatively little cognitive effort, and (2) those that occur with relatively high cognitive effort. The amount of thought and effort used in any given situation is determined by many variables, all of which affect one’s motivation or ability to think. Some examples include one’s personal preference for engaging in complex thought, the personal relevance of the attitude object, and the amount of distraction present while attempting to think. Furthermore, both high- and low-effort processes can operate whether or not a persuasive message is presented.

Low-Effort Processes

When factors keep one’s motivation and/or ability to think low (such as when the issue is not personally relevant or there are many distractions present), attitude change can be produced by a variety of low-effort processes. These include some largely automatic associative processes as well as simple inferential processes.

Associative Processes

Classical Conditioning. One way to produce attitude change in the absence of effortful thought is to repeatedly associate an initially neutral attitude object with another stimulus that already possesses a positive or negative meaning. For example, imagine that every time you saw your uncle as a child he took you to the zoo. Assuming you enjoy going to the zoo, you will likely start to feel more positively toward your uncle. If, instead, every time you saw him he took you to the doctor to get your immunization shots, the opposite result is more likely. Although research on this process has demonstrated that it is most effective for previously neutral stimuli (such as novel words or objects), significant attitude change has also been found for positive and negative attitude objects as well. One series of studies found that repeatedly pairing words related to the self (e.g., I and me) with positive stimuli caused significant increases in a later measure of participants’ self-esteem. Thus, continually associating an attitude object or message with something you already like (e.g., an attractive source) can lead to positive attitudes.

Affective Priming. Another process that involves the association of two stimuli is called affective priming. In this process a positive or negative stimulus (e.g., words such as love or murder) is encountered just prior to a novel attitude object (rather than following it, as occurs in classical conditioning). When this happens, one’s reaction to the positive or negative stimulus will come to color the evaluation of the new object, producing attitude change. Imagine, for instance, that you are at an unfamiliar restaurant and are about to try a totally new dish. If this meal is brought to you by a very attractive waiter or waitress, your positive reaction toward this server is likely to influence your initial attitude toward the food. Although this attitude may change as you interact with the attitude object (i.e., when you eat the food), the initial positive evaluation will make it more likely that your final attitude is also positive.

Mere Exposure. In both of the processes discussed so far, an attitude is altered by the attitude object’s association with a positive or negative stimulus. In contrast, research on the mere exposure effect has found that repeated exposure to an object in the absence of association can also change attitudes. Quite simply, this process requires only that one is repeatedly exposed to an attitude object. When this occurs, the attitude toward the object becomes more positive possibly due to the fact that the object has actually become associated with the absence of anything negative. The strongest mere exposure effects occur when the repeated attitude object is low in meaning (e.g., novel) or is presented outside of conscious awareness. One intriguing implication of this phenomenon is that mere exposure might help to account for the preference a newborn infant shows for his or her mother’s voice. As the child develops in the womb, one stimulus that is repeated every day is the mother’s voice. Thus, mere exposure to this stimulus should cause the child’s attitude toward the voice (and subsequently its source) to become positive, enhancing the mother-child bond.

Inferential Processes

Balance. One simple inferential process of attitude change involves cognitive balance. Stated simply, balance is achieved when people agree with those they like and disagree with those they dislike. When this is not the case, one experiences a state of unease, and attitudes are likely to shift to bring the system into balance. For instance, suppose you discover that you and your worst enemy both love the same band. When this occurs, you are likely to experience an uncomfortable state of imbalance, and to rectify this inconsistency, one of your attitudes will likely change. Thus, upon learning the information, you may come to find your previous enemy much less distasteful or, alternatively, feel less positively toward the band.

Attribution. At its most general level, attribution concerns the inferences that people make about themselves and others after witnessing a behavior and the situation in which it occurred. Although this topic is highly studied in and of itself, its research has also outlined a number of processes that can create low-effort attitude change. One attributional process, which occurs when people are not well attuned to their own beliefs, is self-perception. In this process, people infer their own attitudes from their behaviors, just as they would for someone else. Thus, people can infer that if they are eating a peach or watching a pro-peach advertisement, they must like peaches, even if they hadn’t considered this possibility before. When this inference is made, it produces attitude change, making their attitude toward peaches more positive.

In a related phenomenon, called the overjustification effect, people come to infer that they dislike a previously enjoyed activity when they are provided with overly sufficient rewards for engaging in it. Research has demonstrated this effect by providing children with candy or other rewards for engaging in an activity they had previously performed merely for its own sake (e.g., coloring). When this happens, the children infer that they were performing the activity for the reward, not for its mere enjoyment, and their attitude toward engaging in the behavior becomes less positive.

Heuristics. One final process through which low-effort attitude change can occur is through the use of heuristics, or simple decision rules based on prior experiences or observations. Although there are countless heuristics, some examples are “experts are usually correct” and “bigger is better.” When motivation and ability to think are low, people can use simple rules like these to form evaluations. For instance, in deciding what new music is good, someone might simply walk over to the bestseller section at the local music store and survey the current top selections. By basing their opinions on the rule that “the majority is usually right,” they establish positive attitudes toward those artists they discover in this section and avoid more effortful (and costly) processes such as critically listening to each performer’s music. Or, instead of thinking carefully about all of the arguments in a persuasive message about a new pain reliever, a person might simply count the arguments and reason, “the more arguments, the better.”

High-Effort Processes

There are also attitude change processes that require a greater use of mental resources. When a person is motivated and able to invest high effort in making a judgment about an issue or object, attitude change can occur due to characteristics of his or her thoughts (e.g., whether the thoughts are favorable or unfavorable), his or her estimation that good or bad outcomes will be tied to the attitude object, or the person’s realization that he or she holds conflicting beliefs about a set of attitude objects.

Cognitive Responses. When people’s attitudes change through the use of high cognitive effort, some of the most important aspects to consider are their actual thoughts (cognitive responses) toward the attitude object and any persuasive message that is received on the topic. Although there are a number of different aspects to consider, three components of thought have proven especially important in producing change. The first, and most obvious, is whether thoughts about the attitude object or message are largely favorable or unfavorable. By examining the ratio of positive to negative thoughts, the likely amount of attitude change produced can be approximated. If there is a greater proportion of favorable than unfavorable thoughts, your attitude will change in a positive direction. The opposite is true if there is a greater proportion of negative thoughts. A second important dimension concerns how much thinking is done. For example, the more positive thoughts one has about an attitude object, the more favorable the attitudes will be. The third, and final, aspect of thought is related to confidence. When thinking about an attitude object or persuasive message, people will have varying confidence in each of their discrete thoughts. To the extent that they are highly confident in a thought, it will have a great impact on their final attitude. Those thoughts that are associated with low confidence, however, will play a relatively minor role in any attitude change. Many things can affect one’s confidence in a thought, such as how easily it comes to mind.

Although these three factors are easy to imagine operating in traditional persuasion settings (e.g., when you view an advertisement for some commercial product), they also influence attitude change in the absence of any persuasive message. One way in which this occurs is when people role play, or imagine what someone else would think about an issue. Imagine, for instance, that you enjoy smoking cigarettes. Now, generate as many reasons as you can to stop smoking. Because of the cognitive responses you’ve created by engaging in this process, you may change your own attitudes toward smoking. As you can probably guess, the more thought and effort you put into the role play, the more likely it is that attitude change will occur. If you did put a great deal of effort into the exercise, then you’ve probably created a number of negative thoughts about smoking tobacco. In this case, you might expect that your attitude has become more negative toward smoking. This may or may not be true, however, depending on the confidence you have in the thoughts that were produced. If you generated a large number of antismoking thoughts but had low confidence in the validity of each one, then they would have very little impact on your attitude, especially if they were countered by some very positive thoughts that were held with high confidence.

Expectancy-Value Processes. According to the reasoned action theory, attitudes are created through an individual’s assessment of how likely it is that a given attitude object will be associated with positive (or negative) consequences or values. The more likely it is that an attitude object (e.g., a car) is associated with a positive consequence (being able to travel to work) or value (staying safe), the more positive the attitude will be. Although some researchers have argued that all attitudes are determined in this manner, it is most likely that this process only occurs when people put sufficient effort into considering all of the possible consequences and values that may be tied to a given attitude object. Interestingly, when people engage in this process of effortful consideration of an object or message, they may actually change their own attitude. If, for instance, you recently purchased a sport utility vehicle merely for the image it provides, your attitude toward it may become more negative if you are prompted to consider all of the consequences (e.g., very expensive fuel bills) and values (e.g., promoting U.S. independence from foreign oil supplies) that are associated with it.

Dissonance Processes. According to cognitive dissonance theory, people are motivated to hold consistent attitudes. Because of this motivation for consistency, people experience unpleasant physiological arousal (an increase in heart rate, sweaty palms, etc.) when they willingly engage in a behavior that is counter to their beliefs or are made aware that they possess two or more conflicting attitudes. This experience then motivates them to change their attitudes so that the unpleasant feelings can be eliminated. When people make a choice from among alternatives, dissonance processes will often produce attitude change. Research has shown that once people make a choice, attitudes toward each of the potential choices will change such that the chosen alternative will be viewed more positively and the nonchosen alternative(s) will be viewed more negatively than prior to the choice. This reduces the aversive dissonance experience that would have occurred if they still felt very positively toward an unselected option. If you’ve ever bought a product that turned out to have flaws, then you’ve probably experienced dissonance. When a situation like this occurs, your behavior (purchasing the product) is not consistent with your beliefs about the product (it is flawed), and this causes dissonance. To resolve this dissonance, you must change either your attitude toward the product (and decide that it is actually good) or your behavior (return it to the store).


Dual Process Approach to Attitude Change

According to dual process models of attitude change, research on this topic can be organized according to two general types of processes: (1) those that occur when one puts forth relatively little cognitive effort, and (2) those that occur with relatively high cognitive effort. The amount of thought and effort used in any given situation is determined by many variables, all of which affect one’s motivation or ability to think. Some examples include one’s personal preference for engaging in complex thought, the personal relevance of the attitude object, and the amount of distraction present while attempting to think. Furthermore, both high- and low-effort processes can operate whether or not a persuasive message is presented.

Low-Effort Processes

When factors keep one’s motivation and/or ability to think low (such as when the issue is not personally relevant or there are many distractions present), attitude change can be produced by a variety of low-effort processes. These include some largely automatic associative processes as well as simple inferential processes.

Associative Processes

Classical Conditioning. One way to produce attitude change in the absence of effortful thought is to repeatedly associate an initially neutral attitude object with another stimulus that already possesses a positive or negative meaning. For example, imagine that every time you saw your uncle as a child he took you to the zoo. Assuming you enjoy going to the zoo, you will likely start to feel more positively toward your uncle. If, instead, every time you saw him he took you to the doctor to get your immunization shots, the opposite result is more likely. Although research on this process has demonstrated that it is most effective for previously neutral stimuli (such as novel words or objects), significant attitude change has also been found for positive and negative attitude objects as well. One series of studies found that repeatedly pairing words related to the self (e.g., I and me) with positive stimuli caused significant increases in a later measure of participants’ self-esteem. Thus, continually associating an attitude object or message with something you already like (e.g., an attractive source) can lead to positive attitudes.

Affective Priming. Another process that involves the association of two stimuli is called affective priming. In this process a positive or negative stimulus (e.g., words such as love or murder) is encountered just prior to a novel attitude object (rather than following it, as occurs in classical conditioning). When this happens, one’s reaction to the positive or negative stimulus will come to color the evaluation of the new object, producing attitude change. Imagine, for instance, that you are at an unfamiliar restaurant and are about to try a totally new dish. If this meal is brought to you by a very attractive waiter or waitress, your positive reaction toward this server is likely to influence your initial attitude toward the food. Although this attitude may change as you interact with the attitude object (i.e., when you eat the food), the initial positive evaluation will make it more likely that your final attitude is also positive.

Mere Exposure. In both of the processes discussed so far, an attitude is altered by the attitude object’s association with a positive or negative stimulus. In contrast, research on the mere exposure effect has found that repeated exposure to an object in the absence of association can also change attitudes. Quite simply, this process requires only that one is repeatedly exposed to an attitude object. When this occurs, the attitude toward the object becomes more positive possibly due to the fact that the object has actually become associated with the absence of anything negative. The strongest mere exposure effects occur when the repeated attitude object is low in meaning (e.g., novel) or is presented outside of conscious awareness. One intriguing implication of this phenomenon is that mere exposure might help to account for the preference a newborn infant shows for his or her mother’s voice. As the child develops in the womb, one stimulus that is repeated every day is the mother’s voice. Thus, mere exposure to this stimulus should cause the child’s attitude toward the voice (and subsequently its source) to become positive, enhancing the mother-child bond.

Inferential Processes

Balance. One simple inferential process of attitude change involves cognitive balance. Stated simply, balance is achieved when people agree with those they like and disagree with those they dislike. When this is not the case, one experiences a state of unease, and attitudes are likely to shift to bring the system into balance. For instance, suppose you discover that you and your worst enemy both love the same band. When this occurs, you are likely to experience an uncomfortable state of imbalance, and to rectify this inconsistency, one of your attitudes will likely change. Thus, upon learning the information, you may come to find your previous enemy much less distasteful or, alternatively, feel less positively toward the band.

Attribution. At its most general level, attribution concerns the inferences that people make about themselves and others after witnessing a behavior and the situation in which it occurred. Although this topic is highly studied in and of itself, its research has also outlined a number of processes that can create low-effort attitude change. One attributional process, which occurs when people are not well attuned to their own beliefs, is self-perception. In this process, people infer their own attitudes from their behaviors, just as they would for someone else. Thus, people can infer that if they are eating a peach or watching a pro-peach advertisement, they must like peaches, even if they hadn’t considered this possibility before. When this inference is made, it produces attitude change, making their attitude toward peaches more positive.

In a related phenomenon, called the overjustification effect, people come to infer that they dislike a previously enjoyed activity when they are provided with overly sufficient rewards for engaging in it. Research has demonstrated this effect by providing children with candy or other rewards for engaging in an activity they had previously performed merely for its own sake (e.g., coloring). When this happens, the children infer that they were performing the activity for the reward, not for its mere enjoyment, and their attitude toward engaging in the behavior becomes less positive.

Heuristics. One final process through which low-effort attitude change can occur is through the use of heuristics, or simple decision rules based on prior experiences or observations. Although there are countless heuristics, some examples are “experts are usually correct” and “bigger is better.” When motivation and ability to think are low, people can use simple rules like these to form evaluations. For instance, in deciding what new music is good, someone might simply walk over to the bestseller section at the local music store and survey the current top selections. By basing their opinions on the rule that “the majority is usually right,” they establish positive attitudes toward those artists they discover in this section and avoid more effortful (and costly) processes such as critically listening to each performer’s music. Or, instead of thinking carefully about all of the arguments in a persuasive message about a new pain reliever, a person might simply count the arguments and reason, “the more arguments, the better.”

High-Effort Processes

There are also attitude change processes that require a greater use of mental resources. When a person is motivated and able to invest high effort in making a judgment about an issue or object, attitude change can occur due to characteristics of his or her thoughts (e.g., whether the thoughts are favorable or unfavorable), his or her estimation that good or bad outcomes will be tied to the attitude object, or the person’s realization that he or she holds conflicting beliefs about a set of attitude objects.

Cognitive Responses. When people’s attitudes change through the use of high cognitive effort, some of the most important aspects to consider are their actual thoughts (cognitive responses) toward the attitude object and any persuasive message that is received on the topic. Although there are a number of different aspects to consider, three components of thought have proven especially important in producing change. The first, and most obvious, is whether thoughts about the attitude object or message are largely favorable or unfavorable. By examining the ratio of positive to negative thoughts, the likely amount of attitude change produced can be approximated. If there is a greater proportion of favorable than unfavorable thoughts, your attitude will change in a positive direction. The opposite is true if there is a greater proportion of negative thoughts. A second important dimension concerns how much thinking is done. For example, the more positive thoughts one has about an attitude object, the more favorable the attitudes will be. The third, and final, aspect of thought is related to confidence. When thinking about an attitude object or persuasive message, people will have varying confidence in each of their discrete thoughts. To the extent that they are highly confident in a thought, it will have a great impact on their final attitude. Those thoughts that are associated with low confidence, however, will play a relatively minor role in any attitude change. Many things can affect one’s confidence in a thought, such as how easily it comes to mind.

Although these three factors are easy to imagine operating in traditional persuasion settings (e.g., when you view an advertisement for some commercial product), they also influence attitude change in the absence of any persuasive message. One way in which this occurs is when people role play, or imagine what someone else would think about an issue. Imagine, for instance, that you enjoy smoking cigarettes. Now, generate as many reasons as you can to stop smoking. Because of the cognitive responses you’ve created by engaging in this process, you may change your own attitudes toward smoking. As you can probably guess, the more thought and effort you put into the role play, the more likely it is that attitude change will occur. If you did put a great deal of effort into the exercise, then you’ve probably created a number of negative thoughts about smoking tobacco. In this case, you might expect that your attitude has become more negative toward smoking. This may or may not be true, however, depending on the confidence you have in the thoughts that were produced. If you generated a large number of antismoking thoughts but had low confidence in the validity of each one, then they would have very little impact on your attitude, especially if they were countered by some very positive thoughts that were held with high confidence.

Expectancy-Value Processes. According to the reasoned action theory, attitudes are created through an individual’s assessment of how likely it is that a given attitude object will be associated with positive (or negative) consequences or values. The more likely it is that an attitude object (e.g., a car) is associated with a positive consequence (being able to travel to work) or value (staying safe), the more positive the attitude will be. Although some researchers have argued that all attitudes are determined in this manner, it is most likely that this process only occurs when people put sufficient effort into considering all of the possible consequences and values that may be tied to a given attitude object. Interestingly, when people engage in this process of effortful consideration of an object or message, they may actually change their own attitude. If, for instance, you recently purchased a sport utility vehicle merely for the image it provides, your attitude toward it may become more negative if you are prompted to consider all of the consequences (e.g., very expensive fuel bills) and values (e.g., promoting U.S. independence from foreign oil supplies) that are associated with it.

Dissonance Processes. According to cognitive dissonance theory, people are motivated to hold consistent attitudes. Because of this motivation for consistency, people experience unpleasant physiological arousal (an increase in heart rate, sweaty palms, etc.) when they willingly engage in a behavior that is counter to their beliefs or are made aware that they possess two or more conflicting attitudes. This experience then motivates them to change their attitudes so that the unpleasant feelings can be eliminated. When people make a choice from among alternatives, dissonance processes will often produce attitude change. Research has shown that once people make a choice, attitudes toward each of the potential choices will change such that the chosen alternative will be viewed more positively and the nonchosen alternative(s) will be viewed more negatively than prior to the choice. This reduces the aversive dissonance experience that would have occurred if they still felt very positively toward an unselected option. If you’ve ever bought a product that turned out to have flaws, then you’ve probably experienced dissonance. When a situation like this occurs, your behavior (purchasing the product) is not consistent with your beliefs about the product (it is flawed), and this causes dissonance. To resolve this dissonance, you must change either your attitude toward the product (and decide that it is actually good) or your behavior (return it to the store).


Commentary: Physiological and Psychological Impact of Face Mask Usage during the COVID-19 Pandemic

In this commentary, we discuss the physiological effects of wearing masks for prolonged periods of time, including special considerations, such as mask wearing among those who engage in exercise training, and concerns for individuals with pre-existing chronic diseases. In healthy populations, wearing a mask does not appear to cause any harmful physiological alterations, and the potentially life-saving benefits of wearing face masks seem to outweigh the documented discomforts (e.g. headaches). However, there continues to be controversy over mask wearing in the United States, even though wearing a mask appears to have only minor physiological drawbacks. While there are minimal physiological impacts on wearing a mask, theoretical evidence suggests that there may be consequential psychological impacts of mask wearing on the basic psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness. These psychological impacts may contribute to the controversy associated with wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. After we discuss the physiological impacts of mask wearing, we will discuss psychological effects associated with wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19 basic phycological needs exercise face covering masks pandemic physiology.


Contents

During a typical EFT session, the person will focus on a specific issue while tapping on "end points of the body's energy meridians." EFT tapping exercises combine elements of cognitive restructuring and exposure techniques with acupoint stimulation. [7] The technique instructs individuals to tap on meridian endpoints of the body – such as the top of the head, eye brows, under eyes, side of eyes, chin, collar bone, and under the arms. While tapping, they recite specific phrases that target an emotional component of a physical symptom.

According to the EFT manual, the procedure consists of the participant rating the emotional intensity of their reaction on a Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS) – i.e., a Likert scale for subjective measures of distress, calibrated 0 to 10 – then repeating an orienting affirmation while rubbing or tapping specific points on the body. Some practitioners incorporate eye movements or other tasks. The emotional intensity is then rescored and repeated until no changes are noted in the emotional intensity. [1]

Proponents of EFT and other similar treatments believe that tapping/stimulating acupuncture points provide the basis for significant improvement in psychological problems. [8] However, the theory and mechanisms underlying the supposed effectiveness of EFT have "no evidentiary support" "in the entire history of the sciences of biology, anatomy, physiology, neurology, physics, or psychology." Researchers have described the theoretical model for EFT as "frankly bizarre" and "pseudoscientific." [3] One review noted that one of the highest quality studies found no evidence that the location of tapping points made any difference, and attributed effects to well-known psychological mechanisms, including distraction and breathing therapy. [3] [9]

An article in the Skeptical Inquirer argued that there is no plausible mechanism to explain how the specifics of EFT could add to its effectiveness, and they have been described as unfalsifiable and therefore pseudoscientific. [2] Evidence has not been found for the existence of meridians. [10]

A 2009 review found "methodological flaws" in research studies that had reported "small successes" for EFT and the related Tapas Acupressure Technique. The review concluded that positive results may be "attributable to well-known cognitive and behavioral techniques that are included with the energy manipulation. Psychologists and researchers should be wary of using such techniques, and make efforts to inform the public about the ill effects of therapies that advertise miraculous claims." [11]

A systematic review from 2016 found that EFT was effective in reducing anxiety compared to controls, but also called for more research comparing its effectiveness to that of established treatments. [12] However, a 2020 article titled "The current status of energy psychology: Extraordinary claims with less than ordinary evidence" reported that EFT has no useful effect as a therapy beyond the placebo effect. It claims that proponents of EFT have published material claiming otherwise, but their work is flawed and hence unreliable. In short, it concludes that high-quality research has never confirmed that EFT is effective. [3]

A Delphi poll of an expert panel of psychologists rated EFT on a scale describing how discredited EFT has been in the field of psychology. On average, this panel found EFT had a score of 3.8 on a scale from 1.0 to 5.0, with 3.0 meaning "possibly discredited" and a 4.0 meaning "probably discredited." [4] A book examining pseudoscientific practices in psychology characterized EFT as one of a number of "fringe psychotherapeutic practices," [5] and a psychiatry handbook states EFT has "all the hallmarks of pseudoscience." [6]

EFT, along with its predecessor, Thought Field Therapy, has been dismissed with warnings to avoid their use by publications such as The Skeptic's Dictionary [13] and Quackwatch. [14]

Proponents of EFT and other energy psychology therapies have been "particularly interested" in seeking "scientific credibility" despite the implausible proposed mechanisms for EFT. [3] A 2008 review by energy psychology proponent David Feinstein concluded that energy psychology was a potential "rapid and potent treatment for a range of psychological conditions." [15] However, this work by Feinstein has been widely criticized. One review criticized Feinstein's methodology, noting he ignored several research papers that did not show positive effects of EFT, and that Feinstein did not disclose his conflict of interest as an owner of a website that sells energy psychology products such as books and seminars, contrary to the best practices of research publication. [16] Another review criticized Feinstein's conclusion, which was based on research of weak quality and instead concluded that any positive effects of EFT are due to the more traditional psychological techniques rather than any putative "energy" manipulation. [11] A book published on the subject of evidence-based treatment of substance abuse called Feinstein's review "incomplete and misleading" and an example of a poorly performed evidence-based review of research. [17]

Feinstein published another review in 2012, concluding that energy psychology techniques "consistently demonstrated strong effect sizes and other positive statistical results that far exceed chance after relatively few treatment sessions." [8] This review was also criticized, where again it was noted that Feinstein dismissed higher quality studies which showed no effects of EFT, in favor of methodologically weaker studies which did show a positive effect. [3]


‘Stroke of genius’

Exploring time-reversed versions of established psychological phenomena was “a stroke of genius”, says the sceptical Krueger. Previous research in parapsychology has used idiosyncratic set-ups such as Ganzfeld experiments, in which volunteers listen to white noise and are presented with a uniform visual field to create a state allegedly conducive to effects including clairvoyance and telepathy. By contrast, Bem set out to provide tests that mainstream psychologists could readily evaluate.

The effects he recorded were small but statistically significant. In another test, for instance, volunteers were told that an erotic image was going to appear on a computer screen in one of two positions, and asked to guess in advance which position that would be. The image’s eventual position was selected at random, but volunteers guessed correctly 53.1 per cent of the time.

That may sound unimpressive – truly random guesses would have been right 50 per cent of the time, after all. But well-established phenomena such as the ability of low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks are based on similarly small effects, notes Melissa Burkley of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, who has also blogged about Bem’s work at Psychology Today.


Contents

In the 1930s, at Duke University in North Carolina, J. B. Rhine and his wife Louisa E. Rhine conducted investigation into extrasensory perception. While Louisa Rhine concentrated on collecting accounts of spontaneous cases, J. B. Rhine worked largely in the laboratory, carefully defining terms such as ESP and psi and designing experiments to test them. A simple set of cards was developed, originally called Zener cards [5] – now called ESP cards. They bear the symbols circle, square, wavy lines, cross, and star. There are five of each type of card in a pack of 25.

In a telepathy experiment, the "sender" looks at a series of cards while the "receiver" guesses the symbols. To try to observe clairvoyance, the pack of cards is hidden from everyone while the receiver guesses. To try to observe precognition, the order of the cards is determined after the guesses are made. Later he used dice to test for psychokinesis. [6] [7]

The parapsychology experiments at Duke evoked criticism from academics and others who challenged the concepts and evidence of ESP. A number of psychological departments attempted, unsuccessfully, to repeat Rhine's experiments. W. S. Cox (1936) from Princeton University with 132 subjects produced 25,064 trials in a playing card ESP experiment. Cox concluded "There is no evidence of extrasensory perception either in the 'average man' or of the group investigated or in any particular individual of that group. The discrepancy between these results and those obtained by Rhine is due either to uncontrollable factors in experimental procedure or to the difference in the subjects." [8] Four other psychological departments failed to replicate Rhine's results. [9]

In 1938, the psychologist Joseph Jastrow wrote that much of the evidence for extrasensory perception collected by Rhine and other parapsychologists was anecdotal, biased, dubious and the result of "faulty observation and familiar human frailties". [10] Rhine's experiments were discredited due to the discovery that sensory leakage or cheating could account for all his results such as the subject being able to read the symbols from the back of the cards and being able to see and hear the experimenter to note subtle clues. [11] [12] [13] [14]

In the 1960s parapsychologists became increasingly interested in the cognitive components of ESP, the subjective experience involved in making ESP responses, and the role of ESP in psychological life. This called for experimental procedures that were not limited to Rhine's favored forced-choice methodology. Such procedures have included dream telepathy experiments, and the ganzfeld experiments (a mild sensory deprivation procedure). [15] [16] [17]

Second sight may have originally been so called because normal vision was regarded as coming first, while supernormal vision is a secondary thing, confined to certain individuals. [18] An dà shealladh or "the two sights", meaning "the sight of the seer", is the way Gaels refer to "second sight", the involuntary ability of seeing the future or distant events. There are many Gaelic words for the various aspects of second sight, but an dà shealladh is the one mostly recognized by non-Gaelic speakers, even though, strictly speaking, it does not really mean second sight, but rather "two sights". [a]

Parapsychology is the study of paranormal psychic phenomena, including ESP. Parapsychology has been criticized for continuing investigation despite being unable to provide convincing evidence for the existence of any psychic phenomena after more than a century of research. [20] The scientific community rejects ESP due to the absence of an evidence base, the lack of a theory which would explain ESP and the lack of positive experimental results it considers ESP to be pseudoscience. [21] [22] [23] [24] [25]

The scientific consensus does not view extrasensory perception as a scientific phenomenon. [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] Skeptics have pointed out that there is no viable theory to explain the mechanism behind ESP, and that there are historical cases in which flaws have been discovered in the experimental design of parapsychological studies. [33]

There are many criticisms pertaining to experiments involving extrasensory perception, particularly surrounding methodological flaws. These flaws are not unique to a single experimental design, and are effective in discrediting much of the positive research surrounding ESP. Many of the flaws seen in the Zener cards experiment are present in the Ganzfeld experiment as well. First is the stacking effect, an error that occurs in ESP research. Trial-by-trial feedback given in studies using a “closed” ESP target sequence (e.g., a deck of cards) violates the condition of independence used for most standard statistical tests. Multiple responses for a single target cannot be evaluated using statistical tests that assume independence of responses. This increases likelihood of card counting and in turn, increases the chances for the subject to guess correctly without using ESP. Another methodological flaw involves cues through sensory leakage. For example, when the subject receives a visual cue. This could be the reflection of a Zener card in the holder's glasses. In this case, the subject is able to guess the card correctly because they can see it in the reflection, not because of ESP. Finally, poor randomization of target stimuli could be happening. Poor shuffling methods can make the orders of the cards easier to predict, or the cards could’ve been marked and manipulated, again, making it easier to predict which cards come next. [34] The results of a meta-analysis found that when these errors were corrected and accounted for, there was still no significant effect of ESP. Many of the studies only appeared to have significant occurrence of ESP, when in fact, this result was due to the many methodological errors in the research.

Dermo-optical perception Edit

In the early 20th century, Joaquin María Argamasilla, known as the "Spaniard with X-ray Eyes", claimed to be able to read handwriting or numbers on dice through closed metal boxes. Argamasilla managed to fool Gustav Geley and Charles Richet into believing he had genuine psychic powers. [35] In 1924, he was exposed by Harry Houdini as a fraud. Argamasilla peeked through his simple blindfold and lifted up the edge of the box so he could look inside it without others noticing. [36]

Science writer Martin Gardner has written that the ignorance of blindfold deception methods has been widespread in investigations into objects at remote locations from persons who claim to possess second sight. Gardner documented various conjuring techniques psychics such as Rosa Kuleshova, Lina Anderson and Nina Kulagina have used to peek from their blindfolds to deceive investigators into believing they used second sight. [37]


The Five Best Books on Evidence-Based Therapy

If you want to explore the more in-depth discussions of Evidence-Based Therapy and how to incorporate it into your own practice, consider picking up these five books on EBT.

1. Psychodynamic Therapy: A Guide To Evidence-Based Practice – Richard Summers and Jacques Barber

This is a good book for therapists who wish to practice evidence-based psychodynamic therapy.

While psychodynamic therapy has been around for a long time, this book aims to incorporate new movements in psychology, including positive psychology, to provide an up-to-date picture of what Evidence-Based Therapy looks like when it comes to psychodynamic therapy.

This makes it an especially good option for psychodynamic therapists who believe in the positive psychology movement.

2. Clinician’s Guide to Research Methods in Family Therapy: Foundations of Evidence-Based Practice, First Edition – Lee Williams, JoEllen Patterson, and Todd Edwards

This book is all about Evidence-Based Therapy for marriage and family therapists.

It also focuses on applying the teachings of the book into one’s practice, so it can be an actionable book. Any marriage and family therapist who wants to incorporate Evidence-Based Therapy into their practice can start with this book.

3. Evidence-Based Practice of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Second Edition – Deborah Dobson and Keith Dobson

Since cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the strongest evidence-based therapies out there, it is important to include a book that discusses CBT specifically.

This book discusses the literature surrounding CBT and also how to incorporate these findings into a clinical practice. Any therapist who uses or wishes to use CBT will get a lot out of this book.

4. Casebook of Evidence-Based Therapy for Eating Disorders, First Edition – Heather Thompson-Brenner

As the title suggests, this book focuses on Evidence-Based Therapy dealing with eating disorders.

It accomplishes this by focusing on a few case studies so that one can see what it looks like to deploy these evidence-based treatment plans in practice.

This is an excellent option for anyone who deals with eating disorders and wants to learn through example.

5. The Evidence-Based Practitioner: Applying Research to Meet Client Needs, First Edition – Catana Brown

Finally, this book doesn’t focus on any particular disorder and doesn’t even focus on therapy itself.

This is a guide to incorporating evidence-based practices for all sorts of medicinal fields, including doctors as well as therapists.

While it is not written specifically for therapists, it does teach the reader step-by-step how they can incorporate evidence-based techniques into their own practice.

This is an excellent option for anyone interest in Evidence-Based Therapy since it is not specific to a disorder and discusses the entire process of evaluating the literature to incorporating it into one’s practice.


[Fibromyalgia syndrome as a psychosomatic disorder - diagnosis and therapy according to current evidence-based guidelines]

Objectives: The classification and therapy of patients with chronic widespread pain without evidence of somatic factors as an explanation is currently a matter of debate. The diagnostic label "fibromyalgia syndrome"(FMS) has been rejected by some representatives of general and psychosomatic medicine.

Methods: A summary is given of the main recommendations from current evidence-based guidelines on FMS and nonspecific/functional/somatoform bodily complaints.

Results: The criteria of FMS and of persistent somatoform pain disorder or chronic pain disorder with somatic and psychological factors partly overlap. They include differential clinical characteristics of persons with chronic widespread pain but without sufficiently explaining somatic factors. Not all patients diagnosed with FMS meet the criteria of a persistent somatoform pain disorder. FMS is a functional disorder, in which in most patients psychosocial factors play an important role in both the etiology and course of illness. FMS can be diagnosed by looking at the history of a typical symptom cluster and excluding somatic differential diagnoses (without a tender point examination) using the modified 2010 diagnostic criteria of the American College of Rheumatology. Various levels of severity of FMS can be distinguished from a psychosomatic point of view, ranging from slight (single functional syndrome) to severe (meeting the criteria of multiple functional syndromes) forms of chronic pain disorder with somatic and psychological factors, of persistent somatoform pain disorder or of a somatization disorder. The diagnosis of FMS as a functional syndrome/stress-associated disorder should be explicitly communicated to the patient. A therapy within collaborative care adapted to the severity should be provided. For long-term management, nonpharmacological therapies such as aerobic exercise are recommended. In more severe cases, psychotherapy of comorbid mental disorders should be conducted.

Conclusions: The coordinated recommendations of both guidelines can synthesize general medical, somatic, and psychosocial perspectives, and can promote graduated care of patients diagnosed with FMS.


Lying Is Good For You

If I told you lying was good for you, you probably wouldn’t believe me. But trust me--I’m not lying.

Simply put, we lie because it works. When we do it well, we get what we want.

We lie to avoid awkwardness or punishment. We lie to maintain relationships and please others. And, of course, most of all we lie to please ourselves. Whether we’re embellishing our credentials or strengthening our stories, we often tell untruths to make ourselves appear and feel better.

What's more, we lie all the time. In 2002, Robert Feldman, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, conducted a study in which he secretly videotaped student’s conversations with strangers. After the fact, he had the students examine the videotapes and identify the untruths. On average, they claim to have told three lies per ten minutes of conversation.

And that number is likely far too low. First, we’re likely to underreport the number of lies we tell (we lie about lying, that is). And Feldman’s study only accounted for lies of the verbal variety, ignoring other deceptive behavior--misleading body language or facial expressions, for example.

In fact, we lie so readily that the dishonesty becomes automatic. Most of the time, we’re not even aware of the lies we tell, explains David Smith, director of the New England Institute at the University of New England and author of Why We Lie. He says we lie best when we don’t know we’re lying. “We don’t have the nervousness or broadcast the tell-tale signs of unease that the intentional liar can barely help,” he explains. “Self-deception is the handmaiden of deceit--in hiding the truth from ourselves, we’re able to hide it more fully from others.”

But why are we so dishonest so often? Isn’t honesty always the best policy? In fact, no. Nobody wants to hear that they look heavier or less attractive. In truth, we consider those who are too honest to be blunt, antisocial and even pathological. A recent study found that adolescents who are most popular with their peers were the ones that were the best at being deceptive.

And lying has proven psychological benefits. For instance, there’s scientific evidence showing that depressive people are more honest with themselves than nondepressive, or mentally healthy, people. When people recover from their depressions, they become less honest.

Strangely enough, despite the frequency with which we lie, we are pretty bad at it. Lying--at least the intentional kind--isn’t easy. “It takes more work to tell a lie than it does to tell the truth,” says Maureen O’Sullivan, professor of psychology at the University of San Francisco. “You have to not only make up something, but also watch me to make sure I’m believing you.”

But don't worry too much. People are easily fooled. “There is no Pinocchio’s nose,” explains Paul Ekman, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California, San Francisco. “There’s no sign that is always present when someone lies and always absent when someone is truthful.” As a result, research shows that we’re only slightly better than chance level at detecting deception.

“Our default assumption is that people are telling the truth,” says Feldman. And often, we don’t actually want to hear the truth. If we hear what we want to hear, we accept it, true or not.

Take the example of evaluating a colleague’s work. When we ask a friend if we did a good job, we want the response to be yes, regardless of its legitimacy. Once we hear it, we’re unmotivated to probe further.

“So while we’d like to say we value honesty, we also value dishonesty,” says the University of New England’s Smith. After all, we’ve been taught the importance of lying from a very early age. The catch is, we don’t call it lying, we call it tact or social grace.


Is cannabis treatment for anxiety, mood, and related disorders ready for prime time?

Anxiety and related disorders are the most common mental conditions affecting the North American population. Despite their established efficacy, first-line antidepressant treatments are associated with significant side effects, leading many afflicted individuals to seek alternative treatments. Cannabis is commonly viewed as a natural alternative for a variety of medical and mental health conditions. Currently, anxiety ranks among the top five medical symptoms for which North Americans report using medical marijuana. However, upon careful review of the extant treatment literature, the anxiolytic effects of cannabis in clinical populations are surprisingly not well-documented. The effects of cannabis on anxiety and mood symptoms have been examined in healthy populations and in several small studies of synthetic cannabinoid agents but there are currently no studies which have examined the effects of the cannabis plant on anxiety and related disorders. In light of the rapidly shifting landscape regarding the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, it is important to highlight the significant disconnect between the scientific literature, public opinion, and related policies. The aim of this article is to provide a comprehensive review of the current cannabis treatment literature, and to identify the potential for cannabis to be used as a therapeutic intervention for anxiety, mood, and related disorders. Searches of five electronic databases were conducted (PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Science, PsychINFO, and Google Scholar), with the most recent in February 2017. The effects of cannabis on healthy populations and clinical psychiatric samples will be discussed, focusing primarily on anxiety and mood disorders.

Keywords: anxiety disorders cannabis treatment depression endocannabinoids marijuana.


Scientists Find One Source of Prayer’s Power

The religious find strength through God this we know. But a new study conducted by Prof. Malt Friese and Michaela Wanke suggests that even non-believers can get in on the action. In a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, they present evidence showing how and why prayer might increase anyone&rsquos ability to resist temptation. Though we can all agree that to do so requires self-control, the authors propose that the source of such control might not be supernatural. Instead, it might come from something more earthly. Something accessible to even the most devoted atheist: social connection.

The authors ground their study of prayer&rsquos power in something called the &ldquostrength model&rdquo of self-control. The strength model suggests that our cognitive resources, like our physical resources, are limited. Going for a 1 mile jog would be incredibly difficult right after you&rsquove gone for a 30 mile jog, and resisting even the smallest temptation can be incredibly difficult if you&rsquove just spent an hour resisting larger ones. We run out of gas. So, how do we replenish these cognitive resources, or even increase our cognitive &ldquoendurance&rdquo? Gatorade and pasta? Researchers have, in all seriousness, found that ingestion of glucose can indeed increase self-control, but the scientists here proposed that prayer might be another means through which individuals protect themselves from breakdowns of will. Indeed, past work had already suggested such a relationship, showing that priming participants with words related to religion (e.g God, divine) buffered them against the effects of cognitive depletion.

The authors made use of two experimental paradigms to test the efficacy of prayer in preventing cognitive depletion. The first, called an emotion-suppression task, simply asked participants to watch a funny video but stifle all emotional responses, verbal and non-verbal, to the content. This requires a good amount of cognitive energy to pull off successfully. The second, called a stroop task, asked participants to indicate the ink color of various words flashed to them on a computer screen. The trick is that the words spell the names of various colors that are either consistent or inconsistent with the ink they are to identify. Check it out here. You&rsquoll find that the inconsistent word/ink items are harder to respond to than the consistent items. Researchers have found that after cognitive depletion, this task becomes even harder. So, the authors had an elegant methodological question: will people who pray be able to avoid the depleting effects of emotion suppression and not show a deficit on the stroop task? In other words, will prayer give them the cognitive strength to perform well on both these challenging tasks?

Indeed it did. Participants who were asked to pray about a topic of their choosing for five minutes showed significantly better performance on the stroop task after emotion suppression, compared to participants who were simply asked to think about a topic of their choosing. And this effect held regardless of whether participants identified as religious (70 percent) or not.

Why? The authors tested several possible explanations, but found statistical support for only one: people interpret prayer as a social interaction with God, and social interactions are what give us the cognitive resources necessary to avoid temptation. Past research has found that even brief social interactions with others can promote cognitive functioning, and the same seems to hold true for brief social interactions with deities.

This does not rule out the possibility that prayer has other effects on resisting temptation, and the spiritually inclined could see the hand of God as another causal factor here. But as the holidays approach, it reminds us all of where we derive so much of our day-to-day strength. Interacting and connecting with the people around us.