Psychology Today is running a story about instilling false memories in people, and how that might help them lose weight.
“Although it’s not ethical to create false memories in people, making an association between eating a fattening food and getting ill may be beneficial,” says Elke Geraerts, a psychologist from St. Andrews and lead author on one of the studies. “People may avoid those foods in the future.”
So, it’s not ethical to do this, but it’s okay because it’s for the fatties health, is that what they are saying?
There is a lot wrong with the study besides this: The study participants filled out questionnaires about their food history and preferences. Once they turned them in, the “researchers” lied to them and told them that they got sick after eating egg salad as kids. About 1/3 refused to eat egg salad the week after that when given options of egg salad, cheese, lunch meat, and other things. Of course, it is attributed to the false memory the “researchers” gave them.
How about, that many people just didn’t want egg salad that day? I know I LOVE egg salad, but if it’s a choice between an egg salad sandwich and a good liverwurst on rye? I’m going to take the liverwurst every time. Nothing against egg salad or anything, I just like liverwurst better.
But getting back to my problem with this, the disclaimer is that it’s unethical to instill false memories. So why is this being touted, in Psychology Today as something that may help people to lose weight? If it’s unethical, it’s unethical. Period. A reputable researcher should know this. A reputable magazine should also know this.
The article ends with Although not yet tested for combating obesity, manipulating memories could make people less hungry for fatty foods. The tough part involves getting approval to use the technique for weight loss without letting the subject in on the secret.
Wait. What? It’s unethical, but the article is really seriously suggesting we do this? That’s right. I forgot again. It’s for our own good, just like starving ourselves dieting and mutilating our bodies weight loss surgery is. After all, the ends justify the means, right? And anything to get those fatties to lose weight and stop being fat at us stop eating all the food in the world stop making health care costs rise just by being fat be more healthy.
Errr, yeah. Psychology Today, if you were an individual mental health practitioner saying this, I’d be writing to the licensing board to have your license revoked.