Monday, December 17, 2018

From 2014: Meet The Trailblazing Army Psychiatrist Treating PTSD With Hookers And Cocaine

Meet The Trailblazing Army Psychiatrist Treating PTSD With Hookers And Cocaine. Dick Scuttlebutt. DuffelBlog, May 4, 2014.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Lt. Col. Stanwick Hardcastle is not just the most popular psychiatrist at Womack Army Hospital because of his strong jaw, jet-black hair and piercing light blue eyes. He also happens to have earned a wide reputation as a strong supporter of prostitutes and hard drugs in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“A lot of [my peers] and my bosses have trouble processing it,” said Hardcastle, in an exclusive interview with Duffel Blog. “But it makes sense if you step back from your initial revulsion and assess it rationally. What do our hurting soldiers, sailors and Marines who have PTSD seek out on their own? Sex and drugs, that’s what.”

It was a shocking discovery for the trail-blazing medical professional, who noticed soldiers were instinctively seeking the therapy that helped them most.

“I knew that some of my peers have had success using LSD, cocaine and other drugs in limited capacity,” he said. “Then I read an article in a professional journal about sexual surrogacy. After that, I just put two and two together, and decided to prescribe those things as an option for therapy.”

Hardcastle’s professional peers and many senior Army officers have trouble accepting his admittedly outside-the-box form of therapy. Behind his back, detractors derisively refer to it as the “hookers and blow” therapy, and his own performance review for the last year expressed worry at his “rush to embrace untested, socially unpalatable therapies.”

But Hardcastle’s own patients, though, beg to differ. Not a single patient he treats has committed suicide or gone on a shooting spree since he or she began the new therapy method.

Take Adam Frank, a medically-retired military policeman currently living on full medical disability in Franklin, Tenn. He sees Hardcastle twice a week for his PTSD, and reports high satisfaction with the new therapy regimen.

“It was getting kind of ridiculous,” Frank said in a phone interview. “There were all these meetings and group sessions and I had to take these pills. But Doc Hardcastle arranged for the Army to get me an eight-ball a week, plus all the Paktiya Gold I can smoke. And once a week I get a date night with one of the fine ladies from Mama Oshenka’s Very Extremely Best Escort Massage Service. All paid for on Uncle Sam’s dime, of course. I haven’t had such a relaxed, nightmare-free existence since I got blown up.”

Other patients echo Frank’s sentiments, noting that it’s hard to get up the gumption to commit suicide or a crazed attack on civilians, at a mall or university for example, when you’re pleasantly buzzing from a snort of cocaine right off the chest of a loving and attentive prostitute.

For now, Hardcastle will continue his controversial treatments. Only time will tell if the Army will allow him to keep treating his patients the best way he knows how, or shut him down.

Few people are actually trapped in filter bubbles. Why do they like to say that they are?

Few people are actually trapped in filter bubbles. Why do they like to say that they are? Plus: Are your Google results really that different from your neighbor’s? Laura Hazard Owen. NiemanLab, Dec 07 2018.

We’re not trapped in filter bubbles, but we like to act as if we are. Few people are in complete filter bubbles in which they only consume, say, Fox News, Matt Grossmann writes in a new report for Knight (and there’s a summary version of it on Medium here). But the “popular story of how media bubbles allegedly undermine democracy” is one that people actually seem to enjoy clinging to.

“Media choice has become more of a vehicle of political self-expression than it once was,” Grossmann writes. “Partisans therefore tend to overestimate their use of partisan outlets, while most citizens tune out political news as best they can.” We use our consumption of certain media outlets as a way of signaling who we are, even if we A) actually read across fairly broad number of sources and/or B) actually don’t read all that much political news at all. This makes sense when you think about it in contexts beyond news — food, for instance. I might enjoy identifying myself on Instagram as a foodie who drinks a lot of cold brew and makes homemade bread, but I am also currently eating at a Chic-fil-A.

Grossmann looks at two different types of studies of media consumption: Studies that ask people to name news sources they consume, and studies that actually track their news consumption behavior (by, say, recording what they do online). The results of these two types of studies are different:
The key insight is that people overreport their consumption of news and underreport its variety relative to the media consumption habits revealed through direct measurement. Partisans especially seem to report much higher rates of quintessential partisan media consumption (such as Rush Limbaugh listenership) and underreport the extent to which they use nonpartisan or ideologically misaligned outlets. People may explicitly tell interviewers they rely mostly on Fox News, while their web browsing histories and Facebook logs suggest they visit several different newspapers and CNN’s website (along with many apolitical sites).

This may seem like kind of a good thing, but don’t get too excited, says Grossmann:
Republicans are not as addicted to Fox News as they claim, nor are Democrats as reliant on Rachel Maddow as they say. But that also means partisans now think of media consumption as an expressive political act, and therefore believe that they should stick to Fox, as right-thinking Republicans, or that they should be loyal to MSNBC, as right-thinking Democrats.

There is also some useful stuff on how partisan trust in the media has shifted: “Democratic trust in media is now higher than it has been in over 20 years, while the reverse is true for Republicans.”


“Research findings thus far do not support expansive claims about partisan media bubbles or their consequences,” Grossmann writes, though this doesn’t mean that we can totally stop worrying about this; he argues we particularly need to work on strengthening local political news, as “we have a hyperpartisan and engaged subset of Americans who consume mostly national news of all kinds,” and a more robust local media could be a useful tool in drawing in the majority of Americans who consume little to no news at all.

Different people, different Google results — but is that a filter bubble? Search engine DuckDuckGo — which, to be clear, is a Google competitor — published an examination of how Google’s search results differ by user.
We asked volunteers in the U.S. to search for “gun control”, “immigration”, and “vaccinations” (in that order) at 9pm ET on Sunday, June 24, 2018. Volunteers performed searches first in private browsing mode and logged out of Google, and then again not in private mode (i.e., in “normal” mode). We compiled 87 complete result sets — 76 on desktop and 11 on mobile. Note that we restricted the study to the U.S. because different countries have different search indexes.

The main finding was that “most people saw results unique to them, even when logged out and in private browsing mode.” This, says DuckDuckGo, is a sign that “private browsing mode and being logged out of Google offered almost zero filter bubble protection.”

But are filter bubbles really the problem here? Danny Sullivan — cofounder of SearchEngineLand and now, yep, Google’s public search liasion — argues fairly persuasively that they’re not because even DuckDuckGo users see different results.


The echo chamber is overstated: the moderating effect of political interest and diverse media. Elizabeth Dubois & Grant Blank. Information, Communication & Society,

Echo Chamber? What Echo Chamber? Reviewing the Evidence. Axel Bruns. Future of Journalism 2017 Conference.

People generally are motivated to maintain a positive view of the self in the present; recollecting & reflecting on moral & immoral actions from the personal past jointly help to construct a morally good view of the current self

Remembering moral and immoral actions in constructing the self. Matthew L. Stanley, Paul Henne, Felipe De Brigard. Memory & Cognition,

Abstract: Having positive moral traits is central to one’s sense of self, and people generally are motivated to maintain a positive view of the self in the present. But it remains unclear how people foster a positive, morally good view of the self in the present. We suggest that recollecting and reflecting on moral and immoral actions from the personal past jointly help to construct a morally good view of the current self in complementary ways. More specifically, across four studies we investigated the extent to which people believe they have changed over time after recollecting their own moral or immoral behaviors from the personal past. Our results indicate that recollecting past immoral actions is associated with stronger impressions of dissimilarity and change in the sense of self over time than recollecting past moral actions. These effects held for diverse domains of morality (i.e., honesty/dishonesty, helping/harming, fairness/unfairness, and loyalty/disloyalty), and they remained even after accounting for objective, calendar time. Further supporting a motivational explanation, these effects held when people recollected their own past actions but not when they recollected the actions of other people.

Keywords: Moral psychology Autobiographical memory Temporal self-appraisal theory Identity Self

Check also Stanley, M. L., Henne, P., Iyengar, V., Sinnott-Armstrong, W., & De Brigard, F. (2017). I’m not the person I used to be: The self and autobiographical memories of immoral actions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,

And The neural correlates of moral decision-making: A systematic review and meta-analysis of moral evaluations and response decision judgements. Beverley Garrigan, Anna L.R. Adlam, Peter E. Langdon. Brain and Cognition, Volume 108, October 2016, Pages 88-97.

An evaluation of the effects of lowering blood alcohol concentration limits for drivers on the rates of road traffic accidents and alcohol consumption: a natural experiment in the UK

An evaluation of the effects of lowering blood alcohol concentration limits for drivers on the rates of road traffic accidents and alcohol consumption: a natural experiment. Houra Haghpanahan et al. The Lancet,

Background: Drink driving is an important risk factor for road traffic accidents (RTAs), which cause high levels of morbidity and mortality globally. Lowering the permitted blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for drivers is a common public health intervention that is enacted in countries and jurisdictions across the world. In Scotland, on Dec 5, 2014, the BAC limit for drivers was reduced from 0·08 g/dL to 0·05 g/dL. We therefore aimed to evaluate the effects of this change on RTAs and alcohol consumption.

Methods: In this natural experiment, we used an observational, comparative interrupted time-series design by use of data on RTAs and alcohol consumption in Scotland (the interventional group) and England and Wales (the control group). We obtained weekly counts of RTAs from police accident records and we estimated weekly off-trade (eg, in supermarkets and convenience stores) and 4-weekly on-trade (eg, in bars and restaurants) alcohol consumption from market research data. We also used data from automated traffic counters as denominators to calculate RTA rates. We estimated the effect of the intervention on RTAs by use of negative binomial panel regression and on alcohol consumption outcomes by use of seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average models. Our primary outcome was weekly rates of RTAs in Scotland, England, and Wales. This study is registered with ISRCTN, number ISRCTN38602189.

Findings: We assessed the weekly rate of RTAs and alcohol consumption between Jan 1, 2013, and Dec 31, 2016, before and after the BAC limit came into effect on Dec 5, 2014. After the reduction in BAC limits for drivers in Scotland, we found no significant change in weekly RTA rates after adjustment for seasonality and underlying temporal trend (rate ratio 1·01, 95% CI 0·94–1·08; p=0.77) or after adjustment for seasonality, the underlying temporal trend, and the driver characteristics of age, sex, and socioeconomic deprivation (1·00, 0·96–1·06; p=0·73). Relative to RTAs in England and Wales, where the reduction in BAC limit for drivers did not occur, we found a 7% increase in weekly RTA rates in Scotland after this reduction in BAC limit for drivers (1·07, 1·02–1·13; p=0·007 in the fully-adjusted model). Similar findings were observed for serious or fatal RTAs and single-vehicle night-time RTAs. The change in legislation in Scotland was associated with no change in alcohol consumption, measured by per-capita off-trade sales (−0·3%, −1·7 to 1·1; p = 0·71), but a 0·7% decrease in alcohol consumption measured by per-capita on-trade sales (−0·7%, −0·8 to −0·5; p < 0·0001).

Interpretation: Lowering the driving BAC limit to 0·05 g/dL from 0·08 g/dL in Scotland was not associated with a reduction in RTAs, but this change was associated with a small reduction in per-capita alcohol consumption from on-trade alcohol sales. One plausible explanation is that the legislative change was not suitably enforced—for example with random breath testing measures. Our findings suggest that changing the legal BAC limit for drivers in isolation does not improve RTA outcomes. These findings have significant policy implications internationally as several countries and jurisdictions consider a similar reduction in the BAC limit for drivers.

No evidence that women using oral contraceptives had weaker preferences for male facial masculinity than did women not using them, suggesting that links between reproductive hormones & preferences are quite limited

Jones, Benedict C., Lisa M. DeBruine, and Amanda Hahn. 2018. “No Evidence That Women Using Oral Contraceptives Have Weaker Preferences for Masculine Characteristics in Men’s Faces.” PsyArXiv. December 17. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: Previous research has suggested that women using oral contraceptives show weaker preferences for masculine men than do women not using oral contraceptives. Such research would be consistent with the hypothesis that steroid hormones influence women’s preferences for masculine men. Recent large-scale longitudinal studies, however, have found limited evidence linking steroid hormones to masculinity preferences. Given the relatively small samples used in previous studies investigating putative associations between masculinity preferences and oral contraceptive use, we compared the facial masculinity preferences of women using oral contraceptives and women not using oral contraceptives in a large online sample of 6482 heterosexual women. We found no evidence that women using oral contraceptives had weaker preferences for male facial masculinity than did women not using oral contraceptives. These findings add to a growing literature suggesting that links between reproductive hormones and preferences are more limited than previously proposed.

Politicization as an antecedent of polarization and the definition of friends and enemies

Politicization as an antecedent of polarization: Evidence from two different political and national contexts. Bernd Simon et al. British Journal of Social Psychology ,

Abstract: Using longitudinal research designs, we examine the role of politicization in the development of polarization. We conducted research in two different political and national contexts. In Study 1, we employ a panel sample of supporters of the Tea Party movement in the United States and examine the relationship between the strength of their politicization and their subsequent feelings towards conservatives versus liberals (affective polarization) as well as their subsequent perceptions of commonalities with conservatives versus liberals (cognitive polarization). In Study 2, we employ a panel sample of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) community in Germany and examine the politicization–polarization link with regard to feelings towards, and perceived commonalities with, feminists versus supporters of a populist right‐wing political party. We obtained converging evidence suggesting that politicization promotes both affective and cognitive polarization. There was also some, but very limited evidence pointing to reverse causation. The danger of escalating polarization is discussed.

Check also Grand Old (Tailgate) Party? Partisan Discrimination in Apolitical Settings. Andrew M. Engelhardt, Stephen M. Utych. Political Behavior,

Outrageous fortune or destiny? The impacts of both the genes and the family environment tended to decline over the life course, resulting in a downward trend in family influences from all sources

Outrageous fortune or destiny? Family influences on status achievement in the early life course. J. Micah Roosa, Fran├žois Nielsen. Social Science Research,

Abstract: Psychologists using quantitative studies of the trait intelligence have established with much confidence that the impact of genes on intelligence increases with age, while the environmental effect of the family of origin declines. We examined the conjecture that a similar trend of increasing effect of genes/declining family environmental effect characterizes other status-related outcomes when arranged in typical age-graded sequence over adolescence and early adulthood. We used DeFries-Fulker (1985) (DF) analysis with longitudinal data on 1576 pairs of variously-related young adult siblings (MZ twins; DZ twins; full siblings; half siblings; cousins; and nonrelated siblings; mean age 28) to estimate univariate quantitative genetic decompositions for fifteen status-related outcomes roughly ordered along the early life course: Verbal IQ, High school GPA, College plans, High school graduation, Some college, College graduation, Graduate school, Educational attainment, Occupational education, Occupational wages, Personal earnings, Household income, Household assets, Home ownership, and Subjective social status, with and without covariate controls for Age, Female gender, and Race/ethnicity (black, Hispanic, other; reference white). Results for successive outcomes did not support the conjecture of increasing heritability with maturity. Rather, the impacts of both the genes and the family environment tended to decline over the life course, resulting in a downward trend in family influences from all sources. There was some evidence of a recrudescence in relative influence of the family environment for outcomes related to the household that are often shared with a spouse, such as home ownership, suggesting a role of assortative mating in status reproduction. Other findings and limitations of the study are discussed.

Check also Talent vs Luck: the role of randomness in success and failure. A. Pluchino. A. E. Biondo, A. Rapisarda. arXiv:1802.07068 [physics.soc-ph], Feb 20 2018,

New tool that provides a means to measure the psychological and cultural distance between two societies and create a distance scale with any population as the point of comparison

Muthukrishna, Michael and Bell, Adrian and Henrich, Joseph and Curtin, Cameron and Gedranovich, Alexander and McInerney, Jason and Thue, Braden, Beyond WEIRD Psychology: Measuring and Mapping Scales of Cultural and Psychological Distance (October 2, 2018).

Abstract: We present a new tool that provides a means to measure the psychological and cultural distance between two societies and create a distance scale with any population as the point of comparison. Since psychological data is dominated by samples drawn from the United States or other WEIRD nations, this tool provides a “WEIRD scale” to assist researchers in systematically extending the existing database of psychological phenomena to more diverse and globally representative samples. As the extreme WEIRDness of the literature begins to dissolve, the tool will become more useful for designing, planning, and justifying a wide range of comparative psychological projects. We have made our code available and developed an online application for creating other scales (including the “Sino scale” also presented in this paper). We discuss regional diversity within nations showing the relative homogeneity of the United States. Finally, we use these scales to predict various psychological outcomes.

Keywords: WEIRD people, cultural psychology, cultural distance, cross-cultural differences, replication crisis

The accurate assessment of sexual fantasy use is important for both research and forensic/clinical practice: An Exploration of the Factor Structure of Gray Et Al.’s Sexual Fantasy Questionnaire

Bartels, Ross, and Craig A. Harper. 2018. “An Exploration of the Factor Structure of Gray Et Al.’s Sexual Fantasy Questionnaire.” PsyArXiv. August 19. doi:10.31234/

Abstract: The accurate assessment of sexual fantasy use is important for both research and forensic/clinical practice. Although a number of sexual fantasy questionnaires exist, they tend to be associated with high financial cost for researchers, outdated or ambiguous terminology, and/or embody ethical problems arising from overtly explicit items. One measure that does not contain these issues is Gray et al.’s (2003) Sexual Fantasy Questionnaire (SFQ). While the SFQ has recently gained some interest from researchers, it has not been thoroughly validated. Thus, in this study, we combined data from three online survey-based samples (N = 594) to examine the factor structure underpinning the SFQ. After conducting parallel and principal components analyses, a six-factor structure was settled upon. The resulting SFQ-revised contained 62-items, with the six factors reflecting the following fantasy themes: (1) masochistic, (2) sadistic, (3) romantic, (4) impersonal, (5) pre/tactile courtship disorder, and (6) bodily function. Data on how the six clusters differ across genders, sexual orientation, and relationship status are also provided. We also developed a short version of the SFQ-revised (37-items) for use when time or space are constrained. The theoretical and methodological significance of the revised SFQs are discussed, as well as recommendations for research and practice.