Friday 30 August 2013

The rigorous science of public health

Policy-based evidence doesn't get much more blatant than this...

A University of Liverpool student has been awarded a British Psychological Society summer studentship to look at the effects of alcohol advertising on choice and behaviour.

Here comes the, ahem, science...

The study is exploring whether intoxication can change the way a person behaves [don't laugh—CJS]  including how they respond to positive and negative alcohol advertising.

It will measure the effects of different advert types on choice behaviour when the participants are both sober and intoxicated. The expectation at the outset of the study was that intoxication may strengthen the underlying motivation to drink in a typical drinking environment, with positive adverts having a greater influence while negative adverts may be ignored.

Nothing indicates 'quality, impartial science' better than having an "expectation at the outset", does it?

If these possibilities are confirmed once the study is complete, it could inform health strategies aimed at reducing the occurrence of binge drinking, as well as raising questions about whether the level of positive alcohol advertising in drinking establishments should be reduced.

They know what conclusion they want and they know what policy they're working towards. It's as if the spirits of Darwin, Galileo and Newton have merged into one! Long live rigorous scientific enquiry.

Dr Abi Rose from the University’s Department of Psychological Sciences said: “Marianne has already proved herself to be a high-achieving student and we’re delighted to be able to support her in a study which, if it produces significant results, could have real implications for health policy.”

I don't know about you, dear reader, but I'm on tenterhooks. Who knows what conclusion this study will arrive at? Who knows what findings will emerge once this distinguished and impartial scientist has finished her scrupulous work? Which way will the dice fall?

It's just too early to say.


Unknown said...

I think our hair would stand on end if we really knew how much "science" that intrudes into our lives via the Government is actually done as student assignments. They set out to investigate things their grandmothers could have told them from common sense!

My heart is in my mouth about the outcome of this new study......

Ivan D said...

Psychology used to be a joke degree for people who couldn't handle science.

The same people are now determining social policy. It appears that the joke is on the rest of us.

Zaphod said...

"Policy-based evidence."

There's a phrase to characterize the early 21st century!

When are the remaining honest scientists going to cleanse their house of these charlatans?


fred barboo said...

Where do I sign up to be the intoxicated subject?