Monday, June 01, 2009

You are what you think you ate

Freakonomics reports:
How do you make undergraduates eat their vegetables? Trick them into believing they had a childhood love of the stuff. A team of researchers at U.C. Irvine studying implanted false memories asked 128 undergrads questions about how well they liked certain foods growing up. A week later, the students were called back and shown their results. But the researchers secretly changed the answers of one group of students to say that they loved asparagus the first time they tried it. When these students were later asked to order dishes on a hypothetical restaurant menu, those who had read falsified self-testimony about their childhood love of asparagus were significantly more likely to order it than they had been just a week earlier. No word on how effective this kind of memory implantation is outside the lab. Readers … a little help?
Some people are easily manipulated.

One of the authors (Elizabeth F. Loftus) has done other research on how easily false memories can be implanted in people. The Freudians hate her because they do things to implant memories, and then claim that the memories are real and causing neurosis.

The New Yorker magazine reports:
Tells about ... a rare condition called apotemnophilia, the compulsion to have a perfectly healthy limb amputated. Ramachandran is known for his low-tech method, which often involves little more than interviews with patients and a few hands-on tests. He suspected that apotemnophilia was a neurological disorder and not, as Freudians have theorized, a psychological syndrome associated with repressed sexual desires.
The Freudians think that all problems are caused by repressed sexual desire, even tho there is no proof that there is any such thing.

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