One wonders if this would even be magnified by a guru-disciple relationship or by a "followers' mentality" which associates good reports of the followers' meditation technique (or any technique) with being a "good" disciple, "adjusting to the guru's thinking", etc.? In other words if you're a "good" disciple-sidha, you'll give glowing results on a questionnaire or with any self-reporting; even more-so if scientific research is used as part of indoctrination, marketing and woven into the teaching itself. Same of course goes for researchers working for the guru: the guru-disciple relationship magnifies bias, even if the guru is not insisting on some specific result you must "find".
On Aug 4, 2006, at 8:19 AM, new.morning wrote: > Relevance for MUM /TMO salaried researchers. > > > Simply Disclosing > Funds Behind Studies > May Not Erase Bias > By SHIRLEY S. WANG > August 4, 2006; Page A11 > WSJ > > Think you can't be bought for the price of a pen? Neither do most > people. But we can be notoriously poor at judging ourselves, and our > honesty, psychologists say. > > For example, biomedical researchers reprimanded for failing to > disclose financial ties to companies whose drugs or medical devices > they study seem baffled over what they did wrong. > > In the past few weeks, several top journals have published corrections > noting that authors of papers failed to reveal they had served as paid > consultants or speakers for companies whose products they studied, > often receiving thousands of dollars. Such conflicts of interest are > emerging as a major concern in research. > > Studies show that even small gifts create feelings of obligation, and > that those feelings can influence subsequent decisions, so why do many > researchers feel they're immune to conflicts of interest? > > Just as we fool ourselves into thinking we're more ethical, kind and > generous than we are, so scientists can be blind to the very real > possibility that their work is inappropriately influenced by financial > ties. These psychological processes usually operate so subtly that > people aren't aware that such ties can bias their judgment. > > Receiving gifts and money creates the desire, often unconscious, to > give something back, says Max Bazerman of Harvard Business School. > Even small gifts can have an influence. Charities that send out free > address labels, for example, get more in donations than those that > don't. Customers who are given a 50-cent key chain at a pharmacy spend > substantially more in the store. > > Conflicts can be hard to recognize, because "cognitive bias" comes > into play. "The mind has an enormous ability to see the world as we > want," says Dr. Bazerman. > > We are more likely to scrutinize information when it's inconsistent > with how we want to see things, something psychologists call motivated > skepticism. If a study about an anticipated new drug is sponsored by > the manufacturer, "we don't kick into a higher gear of criticism," > says psychologist David Dunning of Cornell University. "We just accept > the findings" if they are positive, without digging too hard for > possible flaws in methodology or statistics. > > Studies of psychiatric drugs by researchers with a financial conflict > of interest -- receiving speaking fees, owning stock, or being > employed by the manufacturer -- are nearly five times as likely to > find benefits in taking the drugs as studies by researchers who don't > receive money from the industry, according to a review of 162 studies > published last year in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Studies > that the industry funded, but in which the researchers had no other > financial ties, didn't have significantly different results than > nonindustry-funded studies. > > Studies can be designed in ways that boost the likelihood that results > will come out a certain way, says Lisa Bero of the University of > California, San Francisco. A new treatment can be compared with a > placebo, instead of with a treatment already in use, making finding a > significant statistical difference between the two more likely. Dosage > and timing of medications, which make a big difference in their > effectiveness and side effects, can also be manipulated, she says. > > While studies in reputable journals are reviewed by experts in the > field prior to publication, data require interpretation, which opens > the door to subjectivity. If the numbers don't show an overall benefit > of a drug, for instance, scientists with financial ties to the company > might dig deeper to find one, perhaps to one small group, say, white > women over 50 years of age. > > Because it's rare for studies to show that one variable clearly causes > an outcome, there's always room for doubt. Conflicted individuals, > says Prof. Bazerman, "continue to have doubts long after objective > observers are convinced by the evidence," as when some tobacco > executives refused to admit that smoking is related to risk of cancer. > > But simply disclosing financial ties, as many journals require of > authors, may not help. In fact, it may make things worse. For one > thing, readers don't know how much, if at all, a conflict has skewed > the reported results. > > In a 2005 experiment done by Harvard's Daylian Cain and colleagues, > volunteers were given advice about how much money was in a jar of > coins. In some cases, the advisers were unconflicted, and the > volunteers used the advice to make good guesses about the coins (which > they saw only fleetingly and from a distance). In other cases, the > advisers had a monetary incentive to overestimate the value of the > coins. The volunteers knew this, and adjusted the advice downward. But > they didn't adjust enough, and overestimated the value. > > Disclosure poses another problem: It may unconsciously tempt > researchers to exaggerate their findings or put an even more > pro-company spin on their data to counteract the expected reader > skepticism. "If disclosure encourages you to cover your ears, it makes > me shout louder," Dr. Cain says. > > > > > > > To subscribe, send a message to: > [EMAIL PROTECTED] > > Or go to: > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FairfieldLife/ > and click 'Join This Group!' > Yahoo! Groups Links > > > > > > > To subscribe, send a message to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] Or go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FairfieldLife/ and click 'Join This Group!' Yahoo! Groups Links <*> To visit your group on the web, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FairfieldLife/ <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/