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Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions
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Pseudo-scientific Educational Interventions

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This slide show is to show information literacy concepts using exemplars of pseudo-science. The intended audience is undergraduate psychology and neuroscience majors, and postgraduate teachers

This slide show is to show information literacy concepts using exemplars of pseudo-science. The intended audience is undergraduate psychology and neuroscience majors, and postgraduate teachers

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  • 1. Scientific Interventions and Pseudo-scientific Claims
  • 2. Aims and Objectives <ul><li>Reinforce awareness of information literacy and critical thinking in choosing interventions </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize the importance of scientifically controlled investigations </li></ul><ul><li>Consider scientific vs pseudoscientific interventions </li></ul>
  • 3. Ramey & Ramey (1998) <ul><li>‘ Early years’ programmes must attempt to alter rate of cognitive development if genuine catch-up is to occur </li></ul><ul><li>“ little is known about how to accelerate cognitive development beyond normative or typical rates” </li></ul><ul><li>(From Brown 2005) </li></ul>
  • 4. Seven Principles of Successful Early Intervention Programs (Ramey & Ramey, 1998) <ul><li>Timing </li></ul><ul><li>Intensity </li></ul><ul><li>Direct provision of learning experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Breadth </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition of individual differences </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental maintenance of development </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural appropriateness and relevance of intervention strategies </li></ul>
  • 5. Science Vs Pseudoscience (Beyerstein, 1995) <ul><li>Science </li></ul><ul><li>experiments </li></ul><ul><li>controlled conditions </li></ul><ul><li>public accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>peer accountability </li></ul><ul><li>gold standard = RCT </li></ul><ul><li>‘ expert opinion’ = a low grade of evidence </li></ul><ul><li>anecdotes not acceptable as evidence – “the plural of anecdote is not data” </li></ul><ul><li>Pseudoscience </li></ul><ul><li>tries to appropriate prestige of </li></ul><ul><li>science </li></ul><ul><li>lacks rigorous controls </li></ul><ul><li>secrecy/role of ‘experts’ / gurus </li></ul><ul><li>reliance on anecdotal evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Their explanations are ‘usually </li></ul><ul><li>contradicted by well-established </li></ul><ul><li>scientific knowledge’ </li></ul><ul><li>their own findings ‘rarely, if ever, </li></ul><ul><li>withstand scrutiny by competent </li></ul><ul><li>critics’ </li></ul>
  • 6. <ul><li>Pseudotechnology – “commercial ventures promoted by hucksters who mislead consumers into thinking that their products are sound applications of scientific knowledge … any supporting ‘research’ done by these distributors or their associates will be found to be seriously flawed” (Beyerstein, 1995) </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.sfu.ca/~beyerste/research/articles/02SciencevsPseudoscience.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>http://skepdic.com/ </li></ul>
  • 7. Example 1: Brain Gym <ul><li>Drinking water </li></ul><ul><li>Simple physical exercises </li></ul><ul><li>Pseudoscientific explanation </li></ul>
  • 8.  
  • 9. Brain Gym® is an educational, movement based programme which uses simple movements to integrate the whole brain, senses and body, preparing the person with the physical skills they need to learn effectively. It can be used to improve a wide range of learning, attention and behaviour skills. Educational Kinesiology and Brain Gym® are the result of many years of research into learning and brain function by an educationalist, Dr Paul Dennison PhD, from the United States. It is now used in over 45 countries and is recognised as a safe, effective and innovative educational and self-development tool. www.braingym.org What is Brain Gym ?
  • 10. <ul><li>www.braingym.org </li></ul><ul><li>Who does it help? </li></ul><ul><li>Originally created to help children and adults with learning challenges, for example dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD, Brain Gym® is now used to improve functioning and life quality by people from all walks of life from education to the arts, business, healthcare, sport and personal development. The movements can be safely used by people of almost any age and mobility, from babies upwards. </li></ul>
  • 11. Rationale <ul><li>Movement improves learning </li></ul><ul><li>Much of the movement focuses on improving communication between hemispheres </li></ul><ul><li>Specific neurophysiological explanations given </li></ul><ul><li>Water consumption also aids this process </li></ul>
  • 12. Brain Gym in UK schools <ul><li>1700 teachers trained by one body (Osiris) </li></ul><ul><li>Widely in use in Wakefield LEA </li></ul><ul><li>In use in over 40 countries </li></ul><ul><li>43 Brain Gym consultants in the UK (to complete all BG courses costs around £3,000) </li></ul>
  • 13. <ul><li>Guiding concepts for efficacy trials (Ramey and Ramey, 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>Recruitment from prespecified populations </li></ul><ul><li>Random assignment to treatment and control groups </li></ul><ul><li>Application and documentation of a replicable compound of services </li></ul><ul><li>Minimization of attrition </li></ul><ul><li>Independent assessment of outcomes by researches blinded to participant’s condition </li></ul>
  • 14. <ul><li>Guiding concepts for efficacy trials (Ramey and Ramey, 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-planned statistical analysis of hypothesized outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Replication of key findings in independent samples </li></ul><ul><li>Publication in peer reviewed journals </li></ul><ul><li>Dissemination of findings to key policy makers following peer-reviewed publication </li></ul>
  • 15. Brain Gym ‘research pack’ <ul><li>Summaries of evidence, most in the Brain Gym Journal </li></ul><ul><li>10 expts, 9 from BGJ, 1 from Perceptual and motor skills (impact factor 0.3) </li></ul><ul><li>21 quasi expts (most from BGJ) </li></ul><ul><li>11 qualitative reports </li></ul>
  • 16. Brain Gym ‘research pack’ <ul><li>Populations included in the research pack: </li></ul><ul><li>ADHD </li></ul><ul><li>Simple response times (only peer reviewed paper) </li></ul><ul><li>Improves learning and memory in adults </li></ul><ul><li>‘ learning disabled’ children </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Emotional handicaps’ </li></ul><ul><li>Foetal alcohol syndrome </li></ul><ul><li>Improves hearing </li></ul><ul><li>Athletes </li></ul><ul><li>Alzheimer’s patients </li></ul><ul><li>Insurance salesmen </li></ul>
  • 17. Brain Gym teacher’s handbook (1989; still in use) <ul><li>“ There are no lazy, withdrawn or aggressive children, only children denied the ability to learn in a way that is natural to them” </li></ul>
  • 18. Why the popularity ? <ul><li>Offers a very quick, relatively cheap, easy fix to almost any ailment </li></ul><ul><li>Contains enough (incorrect or inappropriate) science to go unquestioned by teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Trappings of scientific respectability – Brain metaphors, the ‘PhD effect’ </li></ul><ul><li>Probably works ! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fun, running around before doing work, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ special’ components eg being allowed to drink in class, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>huge potential for expectancy and placebo effects </li></ul></ul>
  • 19. Example 2: Neuro-Linguistic Programming <ul><li>The most powerful synthesis of psychological techniques </li></ul><ul><li>The ability to learn to genius levels </li></ul><ul><li>The ability to harness the power of subconscious learning </li></ul>
  • 20. Pseudo-scientific Distortions (with permission of Dr.D Robertson, professor of neurophysiology)
  • 21. Actual Research on NLP <ul><li>NLP is rated as a top ten most discredited interventions in Norcross et al 2008 and highly discredited in Norcross et al 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Within the neuroscience, linguistics, and psycholinguistics communities neuro-linguistic programming is widely recognized as pseudo-science (Lum 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Neuro-linguistic programming is becoming more widely recognized as pseudo-science within the business and education fields (Lilienfeld et al 2001) </li></ul>
  • 22. Conclusions <ul><li>“ Wild claims are likely to surface whenever proven empirical techniques offer no quick and easy route to a desirable end … if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is” (Beyerstein, 1995) </li></ul><ul><li>“ In an ideal world, we would be teaching children enough science in school that they were able to stand up to a teacher who was spouting this kind of rubbish” (Ben Goldacre, the Guardian’s ‘Bad Science’ column, 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>Information literacy among teachers and the public in general needs to be reinforced with critical thinking if pseudo-science’s spread is to be curtailed </li></ul>
  • 23. References <ul><li>Lilienfeld, S. O., Lohr, M., & Morier, D. (2001). The teaching of courses in the science and pseudoscience of psychology. Teaching of Psychology, 28, 182-191 </li></ul><ul><li>Lum, C 2001. Scientific Thinking in Speech and Language Therapy. LAWRENCE ERLBAUM ASSOCIATES, PUBLISHERS Mahwah, New Jersey London </li></ul><ul><li>Norcross, JC, Garofalo.A, Koocher.G. (2006) Discredited Psychological Treatments and Tests; A Delphi Poll. Professional Psychology; Research and Practice. vol37. No 5. 515-522 </li></ul><ul><li>John C. Norcross, Thomas P. Hogan, Gerald P. Koocher (2008) Clinician's Guide to Evidence-based Practices. Oxford University Press, USA </li></ul>

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