Ep 261: Which of These Scientific Terms Are You Using Incorrectly?

MichaelCognition, Intelligence and Language, Critical Thinking, Research and Stats1 Comment

Using Psychological Terms Correctly

Are you using these scientific terms correctly?Do you think you’re using the words “control group” correctly? You’re probably not. In fact, you’re probably also getting these terms wrong as well: “truth serum”, “lie detector”, “bystander apathy”, “personality type”, Oxytocin, “closure” and even the “scientific method”! In this episode I review some of the points made by Scott Lilienfeld and his colleagues regarding scientific terms that you’re probably using incorrectly.


Resources For This Episode

  • Fifty psychological and psychiatric terms to avoid: A list of inaccurate, misleading, misused, ambiguous, and logically confused words and phrases. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2016, from Frontiers in Psychology
  • My interview with Scott Lilienfeld on the 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology
  • Stanovich, K. E. (2012). How to Think Straight About Psychology. Boston, MA: Pearson Allyn and Bacon.
  • One Comment on “Ep 261: Which of These Scientific Terms Are You Using Incorrectly?”

    1. We would like to pursue the matter of the reasoning given for changing the name of MPD to DID. We do not believe there is good reason to believe that the behaviors exhibited by the MPD patients was observed or recorded incorrectly, nor is it true that those same behaviors no longer exist when observing current DID patients.
      It is true that scientists should refrain from saying that they have proof of anything, and likewise we should also refrain from making assertions that claim certainty of a thing, such as stating that there is no evidence for multiple personalities. If a person would promote the advancement of science and the avoidance of bias inherent to its pure practice, then it is wise to abstain from such conclusions.
      In fact, it does not matter at all to us that someone does not know of any evidence for our condition because we experience the symptom of having multiple distinct individuals with differing tastes, beliefs, internal feelings of age and gender, and other unique characteristics that are clearly within the common definition of what may be called a personality. To make a claim otherwise is absurd and insulting from our point of view.
      The inability of the scientific community to find evidence for, or to explain a phenomenon has no bearing on the observation and manifestation of DID. We would point, however, that there is research in the neurophysiological arena that demonstrates these “alter-ego” manifestations as being related to regional cerebral blood (RCB) flow across the brain, and fMRI studies clearly show differential patterns during examinations of participants with DID.
      This of course does not mean that we are actually different people, just that our amnesia (lost time), age regression, and other particular symptoms create the illusion from our internal perspective that we are many inhabiting the one host. We have no issue with the name DID replacing MPD since it is truly a dissociative disorder, and helps to eliminate the stigma and enigma attached to the former, but would warn against the tendency to invalidate patients such as us who truly must cope with the symptoms of a fractured self.
      Because of the advancement of scientific inquiry, we would not (any longer) tell a person who feels that they are female that they are wrong, because there is no evidence of such given that their sex organs defy the claim, and we wouldn’t (any longer) claim that the sun goes around the earth just because we cannot see any evidence with our eyes. There is not a right way to make a claim that something we observe is or isn’t the way it is due solely to the lack of, or quantity of, evidence and data related to the topic.

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