Jul 31

“As such, it is perhaps the most promising tool for behavioral change to have come along in decades.”

Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops (Wired, June 19, 2011):

The premise of a feedback loop is simple: Provide people with information about their actions in real time, then give them a chance to change those actions, pushing them toward better behaviors. Photo: Kevin Van Aelst

In 2003, officials in Garden Grove, California, a community of 170,000 people wedged amid the suburban sprawl of Orange County, set out to confront a problem that afflicts most every town in America: drivers speeding through school zones.

Local authorities had tried many tactics to get people to slow down. They replaced old speed limit signs with bright new ones to remind drivers of the 25-mile-an-hour limit during school hours. Police began ticketing speeding motorists during drop-off and pickup times. But these efforts had only limited success, and speeding cars continued to hit bicyclists and pedestrians in the school zones with depressing regularity.

So city engineers decided to take another approach. In five Garden Grove school zones, they put up what are known as dynamic speed displays, or driver feedback signs: a speed limit posting coupled with a radar sensor attached to a huge digital readout announcing “Your Speed.”

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Mar 17


Who is Patrick McGorry and what does he promote?  He’s a psychiatrist just named Australian of the Year for his work in “youth mental health reform.”  What does that reform consist of?  What he calls a “new form of climate change.” It sure is.

[See TIME Magazine Article “Drugs Before Diagnosis?”]

He not only promotes youths being put on antipsychotics and antidepressants, cited by international drug regulatory agencies as causing hallucinations, hostility, personality change, life-threatening diabetes, strokes, suicide and death, McGorry goes a giant step further-drug them before they’ve even developed a “psychiatric” disorder.

The Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AHRPP) likens such concepts to “performing mastectomies on women who are at risk of-but do not have-breast cancer.”[i]

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed “serious concerns” about child drugging and Senate investigations in the United States have found high profile psychiatrists who were pharmaceutically funded and using fraudulent research being among the heaviest promoters of psychiatric drug use on children. While the rest of the world is experiencing serious alarm at the rampant use of deadly psychiatric drugs on children, McGorry pushes full steam ahead to increase the amount of children being needlessly subjected to psychiatry’s most powerful drugs-antidepressants and antipsychotics.

His theory and practices are so controversial that even his colleagues in the United States have backed away from it.  And a parallel study done in the United States based on the same theory that McGorry uses was considered an abject failure-even by the investigators themselves.  Other psychiatrists have criticized McGorry’s pre-drugging practice as unethical and harmful to adolescents.  More on that later.

This is especially so as the “symptoms” McGorry and cohorts invented to “pre-label” youths as potential candidates for psychosis and “schizophrenia” (to start with) are, according to one U.S. psychiatrist, “remarkably common…adolescence is a period of life that is normally marked by tumultuous changes in personality.”

And what was the first thing he did to capitalize on his winning his “Australian of the Year” award?  He demanded the Australian government hand over another $200 million to fund more of his centers where he can drug more children.  Worse, the government is entertaining the idea. Continue reading »

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Dec 20

How “shocking”!?
Human beings have killed each other by the millions on this planet because they were ordered to do so.

A U.S. soldeir walks between cells at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad in a 2004 photo. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some things never change. Scientists said on Friday they had replicated an experiment in which people obediently delivered painful shocks to others if encouraged to do so by authority figures.

Seventy percent of volunteers continued to administer electrical shocks — or at least they believed they were doing so — even after an actor claimed they were painful, Jerry Burger of Santa Clara University in California found.

“What we found is validation of the same argument — if you put people into certain situations, they will act in surprising, and maybe often even disturbing, ways,” Burger said in a telephone interview. “This research is still relevant.”

Burger was replicating an experiment published in 1961 by Yale University professor Stanley Milgram, in which volunteers were asked to deliver electric “shocks” to other people if they answered certain questions incorrectly.

Milgram found that, after hearing an actor cry out in pain at 150 volts, 82.5 percent of participants continued administering shocks, most to the maximum 450 volts.

The experiment surprised psychologists and no one has tried to replicate it because of the distress suffered by many of the volunteers who believed they were shocking another person.

“When you hear the man scream and say, ‘let me out, I can’t stand it,’ that is the point when the real stress that people criticized Milgram for kicked in,” Burger said.

“It was a very, very, very stressful experience for many of the participants. That is the reason no one can ethically replicate the experiment today.”

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