This discussion applies the pathway for applying critical thinking and academic research to evaluate the accuracy of neuroscience claims made by everyday products.
Learning Objective 3a, 5a, 5b, and 5c
*Please note:* This discussion forum is “post first.” In other words, you will not see the posts of your classmates until after you post.
Step 1: Watch the following Ted Talk: Drawing False Conclusions from Neuroscience Research (webpage, opens in a new tab).
Step 2: Identify *one* product that makes some type of neuroscience claim. To identify a product, you might consider searching through kitchen cabinets or a pantry. You might also consider searching through social media advertisements, internet advertisements, or television commercials. To determine the actual claim being made, read the packaging of the product or view the full advertisement of a commercial.
Example: You decide to search through your cabinets, and you find a box of “Sleepy Tea,” which claims that if you drink it before bedtime, you will fall asleep. You read the packaging, and you see that the chamomile in the tea is the part of the tea the packaging claims will induce sleep. Therefore, the neuroscience claim made by “Sleepy Tea” is the dose of chamomile in one cup causes a person to fall asleep.
Step 3: Search the academic literature to identify a research article that supports the claim, refutes the claim, or was the science from which neuro-bunk was based. The article needs to be from an academic journal. Use one of the following resources to help you locate an academic article.
You can search the following: Monitor on Psychology (webpage, opens in a new tab). Monitor on Psychology is reader friendly and has thousands of articles.
You can also search Google Scholar (webpage, opens in a new tab). Google Scholar only provides an abstract, which is a summary. After you locate an abstract on Google Scholar, you will need to locate the full article on SPC’s LibraryOnline (webpage, opens in a new tab).
Read the academic article you selected. Pay particular attention to the information in the article that addresses the science related to the claim made by the product.
- Step 4: Compose an APA citation for the article you selected. Use the following as a guide:
Kemps, E., Tiggermann, M., Orr, J., & Grear, J. (2014). Attentional retraining can reduce chocolate consumption.
Journal of Experimental Psychology, 20(1), 94-102. doi: 10.1037/xap0000005
- Author(s) last name, first initial(s). (Year). Title of the article with only the first word capitalized.
Title of Journal, Volume of Journal(issue number), page numbers. doi: 00.00xxx0000
The following link from Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) explains the required parts of an APA citation for academic articles: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/ (webpage, opens in a new tab).
Step 5: Create a post that includes the following:
First, state the name of the product you selected, including the neuroscience claim made by the product.
In your own words, write a summary of the article that explains the accurate neuroscience. In your summary, identify and explain why the accurate neuroscience from which the claim was based supports the claim, partially supports the claim, or is neuro-bunk. Pay particular attention to a tendency in the product’s advertising or packaging to infer cause-and-effect from correlation alone. As you recall from studying research methods, correlation alone is not causation.