book: Sally Satel on the limits of brain imaging


Brain­washed: The Seduc­tive Appeal of Mind­less Neu­ro­science by Sally Satel

excerpt from book:

Brain scan images are not what they seem…or at least not how the media often depict them. Nor are brain-​scan images what they seem. They are not pho­tographs of the brain in action in real time. Sci­en­tists can’t just look “in” the brain and see what it does. Those beau­ti­ful color-​dappled images are actu­ally rep­re­sen­ta­tions of par­tic­u­lar areas in the brain that are work­ing the hard­est— as mea­sured by increased oxy­gen con­sump­tion— when a sub­ject per­forms a task such as read­ing a pas­sage or react­ing to a stim­uli, such as pic­tures of faces. The pow­er­ful com­puter located within the scan­ning machine trans­forms changes in oxy­gen lev­els into the famil­iar candy-​colored splotches indi­cat­ing the brain regions that become espe­cially active dur­ing the subject’s per­for­mance. Despite well-​informed infer­ences, the great­est chal­lenge of imag­ing is that it is very dif­fi­cult for sci­en­tists to look at a fiery spot on a brain scan and con­clude with cer­tainty what is going on in the mind of a person.

the male gaze and denial of sexual worthiness

Mark Carney Launches New U.K. Banknote
What it’s like to be an ugly fem­i­nist? by Emma Bur­nell at the New States­man

I have been told I am “too ugly to rape”, “too fat to live” that “no man would f**k that” all while walk­ing the five min­utes from my house to the bus stop.

I live with the knowl­edge (and daily expe­ri­ence) that my sex­ual worth will be com­mented on every day when I leave my house and that in the meat mar­ket of the out­side world, I have been judged unwanted, lack­ing, unwor­thy. The aware­ness that part of my expe­ri­ence of every­day life will be to have my worst inse­cu­ri­ties about my lack of looks and sex­ual attrac­tive­ness com­mented on in ways just as crude and shock­ing as those women who are being pestered for their very attrac­tive­ness affects my deci­sion mak­ing, my con­fi­dence and my outlook.

If these bril­liant cam­paigns are to truly suc­ceed, they need to ensure they run the full gamut of the ways in which men are allowed in soci­ety to abuse a woman pub­licly. This can­not mean sim­ply focus­ing on the sto­ries of those who are being sex­u­ally objec­ti­fied, but those for whom the very lack of objec­ti­fi­ca­tion is being used as a weapon to keep us in our place.

V.A. health care benefits and Obamacare

v.a. entrance shrunk for blog

Visit this V.A. web­site about V.A. healthcare:

VA, Afford­able Care Act and You

or call 1877-​222-​VETS (8387)

for infor­ma­tion about health cov­er­age options for depen­dents, you can find infor­ma­tion about

first woman in space: Valentina Tereshkova


The first space­craft piloted by a woman, “Vostok-​6″ was launched in July 16th, 1963. That woman was a cit­i­zen of the Soviet Union – Valentina Tereshkova. She flew into space alone.

First Woman in Space at Only in Rus­sia (Eng­lish version)

technology and psychotic delusions


a tech­no­cul­ture of psy­chosis by Vaughan Bell at Mindhacks

A desert nomad is more likely to believe that he is being buried alive in sand by a djinn, and an urban Amer­i­can that he has been implanted with a microchip and is being mon­i­tored by the CIA.

The Real­ity Show by Mike Jay at Aeon

commercial: guns for children


“If those tar­gets were ATF agents, you’d have to do this faster.”

Cricket: My First Rifle ad at Point­less Planet

Syn­op­sis: A respon­si­ble Amer­i­can gun man­u­fac­turer tries to cap­ture a share of the bur­geon­ing ele­men­tary school-​age mar­ket for lethal weapons by offer­ing chil­dren toy guns that, as it turns out, are actu­ally real.

free paper: drug marketing and unconscious bias among physicians


graph from Think Progress

This free paper has 17 double-​spaced pages of easy read­ing text.Cor­rup­tion of Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Mar­kets: Address­ing the Mis­align­ment of Finan­cial Incen­tives and Pub­lic Health by Marc-​Andre Gagnon in the Jour­nal of Law, Med­i­cine and Ethics, Forth­com­ing at the Social Sci­ence Research Network


This paper explains how the cur­rent archi­tec­ture of the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal mar­kets has cre­ated a mis­align­ment of finan­cial incen­tives and pub­lic health that is a cen­tral cause of harm­ful prac­tices. It explores three pos­si­ble solu­tions to address that mis­align­ment: taxes, increased finan­cial penal­ties, and drug pric­ing based on value. Each pro­posal could help to partly realign finan­cial incen­tives and pub­lic health. How­ever, because of the lim­its of each pro­posal, there is no easy solu­tion to fix­ing the prob­lem of finan­cial incentives.

free paper: social psychology, marketing, and physician vulnerability


Physi­cians under the Influ­ence: Social Psy­chol­ogy and Indus­try Mar­ket­ing Strate­gies by Sunita Sah and Adri­ane Fugh-​Berman from the Jour­nal of Law, Med­i­cine and Ethics, Vol­ume 14, No. 3, August 2013 at the Social Sci­ence Research Network

There are 17, double-​spaced easy to read pages. The rest of the pages are references.


Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and med­ical device com­pa­nies apply social psy­chol­ogy to influ­ence physi­cians’ pre­scrib­ing behav­ior and decision-​making. Physi­cians fail to rec­og­nize their vul­ner­a­bil­ity to com­mer­cial influ­ences; due to self-​serving bias, ratio­nal­iza­tion, and cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance. Pro­fes­sion­al­ism offers lit­tle pro­tec­tion; even the most con­scious and gen­uine com­mit­ment to eth­i­cal behav­ior can­not elim­i­nate unin­ten­tional, sub­con­scious bias. Six prin­ci­ples of influ­ence — rec­i­p­ro­ca­tion, com­mit­ment, social proof, lik­ing, author­ity, and scarcity — are key to the industry’s rou­tine mar­ket­ing strate­gies, which rely on the illu­sion that the indus­try is a gen­er­ous avun­cu­lar part­ner to physi­cians. In order to resist indus­try influ­ence, physi­cians must accept that they are vul­ner­a­ble to sub­con­scious bias, and have both the moti­va­tion and means to resist indus­try influ­ence. A cul­ture in which accept­ing indus­try gifts engen­ders shame, rather than grat­i­tude, will reduce con­flicts of inter­est. If greater aca­d­e­mic pres­tige accrues to dis­tant, rather than close rela­tion­ships with indus­try, a new social norm may emerge that pro­motes patient care and sci­en­tific integrity. In addi­tion to edu­cat­ing fac­ulty and stu­dents about the social psy­chol­ogy under­ly­ing sophis­ti­cated, but poten­tially manip­u­la­tive mar­ket­ing and about how to resist it, aca­d­e­mic med­ical insti­tu­tions should develop strong orga­ni­za­tional poli­cies to coun­ter­act the med­ical profession’s improper depen­dence on industry.

from this great read­ing list by Doc­tor Mickey Nardo