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Brian Hughes

Here is a video of my lecture on the PACE Trial controversy

(Link points to My talk runs from 0:00 to 42:25)

I am behind on posting it, but here we go. This video has already attracted a staggering number of worldwide views, but I thought I would (should) present it here for posterity. Kudos to everyone at the charity Hope 4 ME & Fibro NI who organised the event (back in October), shot the video, and edited in the slides to create such a polished finished product.

The video concerns the PACE Trial, a highly troubled British research study into therapies for chronic fatigue syndrome (and, by extension, myalgic encephalomyelitis). You might recall that I’ve blogged about this before (here), as well as featuring it in Psychology in Crisis.

The video is a twofer: after my talk (the first forty minutes or so), you will see a second lecture by David Tuller, senior fellow in public health and journalism at the University of California–Berkeley’s Center for Global Public Health, and high-profile commentator on ME/CFS issues.

I am aware that the video has been widely viewed within ME/CFS circles, but I believe the issues involved have much wider relevance, relating as they do to the state of psychology as a science, the way research design impacts directly on public health, and the pernicious manner in which medical and academic establishment-types can prove resistant, if not outright hostile, to well-informed professional critique.

(TL;DR: Some parts of psychology are a mess. I talk about it in a video.)

Do enjoy.

The Psychology of Christmas

There is one. A Psychology of Christmas, that is. Here I am over at going on about it, as usual:

In the 1930s, US President Calvin Coolidge made the following observation on the annual yuletide festivities: “Christmas is not a time nor a season,” he said, “but a state of mind.”

For sure, Christmas affects the human mind in many ways, capable of stimulating joy, nostalgia, excitement, trepidation, and stress – occasionally all at the same time. It is little surprise to learn, then, that behavioural science has produced voluminous research into the human side of Christmas.

At the time of writing, a standard Google search for the ‘Psychology of Christmas’ yields approximately 126 million results. Even Google Scholar gives us 200,000. There is much to cover.

Perhaps the best starting point is to remember that Christmas is one of the most psychological of human festivals, in that it echoes the visceral terror of darkness that characterised humanity’s earliest experiences of winter.

There’s plenty more where that came from. Make sure you go read the rest of the piece here

It’s a taster for a public lecture I am giving tonight in Trinity. I believe tickets are all sold out, but nonetheless here is the info.

Dublin seems really Christmassy right now. Tonight, for sure, it will be even more Christmassy…

Psychology is (not?) fine

Today I will be doing a turn. Actually, two turns. (Three, if you include tomorrow.)

This afternoon I have the honour of being a keynote speaker at the Psychological Society of Ireland’s annual conference, here in Wexford City (Ireland’s “sunny southeast”, where roadside strawberries come from, and opera).

My talk is part of a special plenary organized by PSI, the British Psychological Society, AND the American Psychological Association. So no pressure then!

I will be asking, “Is it time for Psychology 2.0?” and yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s a rhetorical question.  But without spoiling too much, I can tell you that my rhetoric will be organized around an assertion that, yes, I do think it is time for such a thing.

I will refer to ‘Psychology in Crisis‘. Basically, I will say that the reason psychology is in crisis is not so much its poor replicability or the prevalence of sloppy methods, but rather that so many psychologists adopt a “This Is Fine” posture whenever they are presented with evidence of the many challenges that blight psychological science today.

Hence the dog, hence the meme, hence the title of this blog post.

Those other turns in brief:

  • Later this afternoon, the PSI will very kindly be launching my book as part of their conference programme. Copies will be available to purchase. (I will sign yours for free.)
  • And tomorrow, as part of a freestyle session with the PSI Science & Public Policy committee, I will be giving a short talk called “How To Not Hate Yourself While Doing Research In Psychology.” (Self-therapeutic? Maybe.)

That’s all I have time to write for now. Other things are happening but I will blog about them later. Right now it’s a conference — I need to go network.

Everything is fine.


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