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Toying with trouble. (Click the link for the article.)

One of the scariest things about 21st century re-tread modernism and the arrogance of PunkAmerica’s revisionism is throwing out the “bad old ways” which were built to save us from ourselves.

The NewTech world is playing with psychiatric apps online. The experimenters are generally not physicians or healthcare people – they are the new “let’s try” generation of IT folks.

Attached is a discussion about a psych app. It toys with people with mental health issues, without appropriate oversight or caution. It’s fun!

Read it carefully, and you see some appalling concepts underneath.  .

A group at Harvard studied “the potential benefits of a mobile app that might reduce self-injurious thoughts and behaviors. They created a game-like app called Therapeutic Evaluative Conditioning (TEC) and enrolled subjects with a history of self-destructive tendencies in 3 studies. The participants were recruited from web forums that focused on self-injury and psychiatric problems…Evaluative conditioning is a type of Pavlovian conditioning in which the degree to which a person responds to a certain stimulus is changed by pairing it with another stimulus…Participants who used the app reported significantly fewer self-cutting episodes and fewer suicide plans….these effects didn’t persist, however, after subjects stopped using the TEC app…the app-playing group, in one of the studies, actually experienced more days of suicidal thoughts after the intervention than the control group. A number of other measured behavioral health outcomes weren’t significantly improved by the app relative to the control group.”

This is reckless. Depressed people kill themselves.  Doing research that has the risk of inducing them to cut themselves or kill themselves is wrong.Or at least it used to be.

Stop and think. We’ve lost our moral instincts regarding research on very vulnerable humans. How is this different from Tuskegee?  Even Mengele?  Not much. 

Our greatest sin is pretending we’ve changed. Two generations and we’ve forgotten, no matter if we have incunabula or Kindle. Civilization is a daily choice to keep or let lapse.  We are losing ours.