‘Thinking caps’ are pseudoscience masquerading as neuroscience | Science | guardian.co.uk

Certainly a little perspective is warranted from time to time.

Instead, Chi and Snyder’s study suffers from a catalogue of confounding factors and logical flaws. The most important of these is the “Nostradamus” problem: that by failing to control for alternative explanations, their results – like the writings of the famous French prophet – are open to a multitude of possible interpretations.

Snyder’s participants solved maths puzzles that the researchers claim required “insight”, yet crucially the subjects did not perform any other tasks to show that only puzzles requiring “insight” were influenced by the brain stimulation. This flaw means that any interpretation of the results is defined chiefly by two words: “maybe” and “or”.

Rather than encouraging novel thinking, maybe brain stimulation made participants less cautious in reaching a decision, or maybe it helped them recall a similar problem seen a few minutes earlier, or maybe it made them temporarily less distractible (or even dulled their hearing), or maybe it boosted general alertness (not surprisingly, people tend to do things faster and better when they are more awake).

via ‘Thinking caps’ are pseudoscience masquerading as neuroscience | Science | guardian.co.uk.

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