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The replication crisis is killing psychologists’ theory of how the body influences the mind (Olivia Goldhill)

Discussion in 'Other psychosomatic news and research' started by zzz, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. zzz

    zzz Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The replication crisis is killing psychologists’ theory of how the body influences the mind

    An excellent article (IMO) that examines some very important implications of the replication crisis in psychology in areas relating to the mind-body connection. Specifically, the "embodied cognition" model is discredited due to lack of evidence.

    Here are the first couple of paragraphs:
     
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  2. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The crisis of replicability is not the reason people are saying that. It's the completely indifferent reaction that gives no pause and instead encourages the field to continue on its merry way as if it were not happening, to the point where weak subjective research in psychology is given oversized legitimacy to build clinical guidelines in medicine despite the fact that the same research would never get approved in medicine because of fatal methodological lapses and obvious ideological bias.

    Meanwhile you have psychosocial ideologues basically doing and publishing the same studies over and over with tiny variations and instead of pondering on the lack of results despite decades of efforts, this continued publishing of ideological pablum is used as confirmation of a valid area of research, one that can perpetually claim to have both accomplished all it sought to accomplish but also where research is always needed, the same research, the same questions with the same methodology being asked over and over again.

    Science is built on a self-correcting process of critical thinking. This process has been turned off in psychology and adjacent domains of science, where every insight is innovative and every claim is grand and marvelous as long as it confirms prejudices and ideological dogma. That is the clearest attribute of a broken field of science, one that has stopped criticising its own work and instead fallen to celebrate everything it publishes, like sleep-deprived parents doing a happy train after baby's first potty, which is, of course, a thing of beauty.
     
  3. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't think the embodied cognition concept actually needs any evidence to discredit it. It is meaningless.

    Of course that does not mean that the body does not influence the mind. It determines entirely what is in the mind. But what has that to do with embodied cognition?

    It's the girl ordering the Perrier and water again.
     
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  4. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    OK colour me confused but I thought the psychological concept was that the mind influenced the body ie we can think ourselves unwell. Or is this something else?
     
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  5. lansbergen

    lansbergen Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    me too
     
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  6. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It's pretty much whatever anyone wants it to be. It's all untestable so any idea is as good as any other. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It's both!

    That ambiguity is generally resolved by inventing a feedback loop of sorts. Any hard question can thus be conveniently deflected with the strong, scientific application of jazz hands.

    peptic-ulcers-psychosomatic.jpg
    me-model-of-beliefs-cycle.jpg
     
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  7. DokaGirl

    DokaGirl Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Embodied cognition is how the body influences thinking?

    I understand the vicious circle concept - mind to body - body to mind.

    But, aren't we more concerned in the ME field with the hypothesis the mind negatively effects the body?


    Of course how we feel physically effects our beliefs about our illness; pwME are correct in knowing ME is a serious, very debilitating physical disease; this has been repeatedly proved to us in our lived experience.
     
  8. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Oh God @rvallee you do make me laugh sometimes :laugh: I had such a picture of somebody doing & saying jazz hands, i know you've said it before, but it just tickled me tonight, thanks for the light relief:D

    That diagram of the peptic ulcer codswallop is priceless, where did it come from?
     
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  9. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    :giggle:

    I'm not sure which book but it's from Franz Alexander, supposedly the "father of psychosomatic medicine". Trying to find a good link and I checked the Amazon reviews, turns out being wrong doesn't phase... uh, let's go with "hardcore psychosomatic ideologues". People still find it a thing of beauty. Nevermind the hundreds of millions of misdiagnoses, surely this doesn't happen anymore (also ignore the millions of people saying so right now, they obviously have unhelpful illness beliefs, not like the last batch, those were unfortunate mistakes, surely, whatever, just trust us OK? we got it this time).

    I'm really not familiar with this mindset, that being completely wrong doesn't detract from the conclusions or the credibility of someone who was adamant they were right. It just feels right, after all, and that's just good evidence-based medicine. Now if you would just jump on the STOP mat, people, we'll you back in shape in no time, cure all your ills, even make you taller, maybe.
     
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  10. hixxy

    hixxy Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Yeah, it's pretty obvious to me that bodily dysfunction does influence my cognition and likewise the reverse as well. The big problem as I see it with psychs is that they like to ignore everything besides the mind to body effect.

    So I think anyone that says either of that these effects doesn't exist are being just as biased as the psychiatrists who refuse to see anything but psychosomatic disease everywhere they look.
     
  11. Snowdrop

    Snowdrop Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I was thinking specifically in terms of the BPS view of ME.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that because I'm ill my way of viewing/thinking about the world is skewed in ways I both am aware of and ways I don't realise. In fact I had considered starting a thread on the subject but don't have the cognitive capacity to really get very deeply into the subject.
     
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  12. roller*

    roller* Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embodied_cognition

    how odd, that especially this progressive and revolutionary thinking should "fall first". it rather looks as if it has the potential to topple and trash the psychology in its core. imo, its based on more plausible and natural concepts/thinking.

    opponents may be the "free will" proposers.
    im wondering, if this article is just one of their propaganda pieces.

    if we are not much acting on "free will", then there is no much "psychology" left.
    there would be behavioral science, as in animal kingdom.

    its in the nature of humans to wish so much for a free will. to be special, chosen and super-individual. to have control.
    but it should have been "psychology" to uncover, that this is just some delusion.

    "embodied cognition" seems to me an attempt to do so.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
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  13. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Or neither.

    Psychosomatics is just a Rorschach test for psychs. They see whatever they want to see in it, and it is completely meaningless.
    :D
     
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  14. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The wikipedia article is fun because it shows what nonsense 'embodied mind' is. The problem is much worse than untestability. It is that people are using words in ways you cannot use them, because they do not understand what they mean by them.

    The idea of embodied mind is that you can explain the mysterious 'non-physical' nature of the mind and its sensations and emotions but saying that these come not from some inner 'non-physical' soul but from interactions extending out into the physical world. So the feeling of the softness of a sponge comes from the squeezing action on the sponge.

    But nobody ever suggested that you could get the feel of softness of a sponge without squeezing it. And the embodied theory has nothing to say about the softness you were thinking of when you read about squeezing a sponge without squeezing one. What the embodied theory ignores are all the feelings we have that do not depend on actions. Tinnitus or a headache are examples.

    Embodied mind actually has nothing to do with psychology. The fact that a psychologist thinks so is just another indication how much psychologists have no idea what it is they are theorising about. Embodied mind is a theory in metaphysics - the abstract philosophical study of what really is. And unlike the theory of Descartes, which is actually perfectly reasonable physics, it is self contradictory.

    As indicated in the wiki article the Embodied in the theory goes with three more Es - Enactive, Embedded, Extended. The embodied indicates that feelings arise in the body. The enactive indicates they arise in body - world integration. The embedded indicates that the body is continuous with the world. The extended indicates that the mind extends beyond the body indefinitely into the world. What embodied mind theorists do not seem to understand is that if you believe all of these you believe everything and nothing. The point of one is counteracted by the point of another. And none of them actually mean anything because they do not say precisely what actually causes the feelings. In contrast Descartes was quite clear that feelings arose when tiny movements of particles or fluids in nerves affected something deep in the brain - which all neuroscientists nowadays accept to be true because if you block those tiny movements with anaesthetics the feelings disappear.

    None of which has anything at all to do with the role of psychology in health or illness.
     
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  15. Lucibee

    Lucibee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I have a corrected version of the vicious circle figure:

    cfs_vicious cycle.jpg

    I did find the original version at some point, but since swapping computers, I'm having trouble locating it...
     
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  16. Lucibee

    Lucibee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Well, I thought I did, but maybe I didn't. Instead, I've started compiling a file of all the "vicious circles" of CFS perpetuation I can find. The figure above was a good place to start (originally posted here: http://www.positivehealth.com/article/cfs-me/cognitive-behaviour-therapy), because it has produced a large number of potential sources.

    One of these appeared in the Surawy et al (1995) ref:
    surawy05_fig2.jpg
    But the earliest is from 1991 - Sharpe M. Psychiatric management of PVFS. Br Med Bull 1991; 47: 989-1005
    Vicious circle 1991.png
    This in turn refers back to Butler et al - which contains a description of the circle, not a figure.

    That's all for now. Still a few more refs to chase...
     
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  17. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It requires considerable skill to build a pyramid and balance it all on that "it is plausible that....".
     
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  18. DokaGirl

    DokaGirl Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thank you @Lucibee for the diagrams, and text. I note that the author said belief in an untreatable "virus" maintains self esteem, yet repeating this pattern causes demoralisation ("dishearten", according to the dictionary I consulted). The author also noted "' learned helplessness'", which is the situation where someone has learned whatever they do, they cannot change something. Although these are different shades of similar concepts, I think the author sees broader artificial boundaries between these concepts (learned helplessness, self esteem, demoralisation) than they are in reality.

    Certainly the PS theory that this devastating physical illness is caused by unhelpful thoughts/beliefs, laziness, and benefit scrounging may have a significant negative effect on self esteem.
     
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