Unscientific Diagnoses Medicalize Normal Human Experiences


In this 30-minute podcast, Peter Simons reports on the latest scientific articles in psychiatry. The goal is to provide more detail than is usually found in conventional research news and to help listeners understand how to interpret the findings.

Articles covered in this podcast include:

  • A piece by renowned researcher Kenneth Kendler that concludes that the notion that any psychiatric theories actually “correspond to reality” is “implausible” and reveals the failure of psychiatry to locate any neurobiological origins for mental health problems;
  • A piece by sociologist Joseph E. Davis that refers to the biomedical model as a philosophical “dead end” because it prevents people from perceiving—and trying to resolve—the social and environmental causes of their problems;
  • A book chapter that critiques the medicalization of grief as a psychiatric disorder and explores the cultural biases of the psychiatrists who become “the agent[s] of the culture that polices grief”;
  • A review article that demonstrates how the pharmaceutical industry co-opted feminist messages to push ineffective drugs for low sexual desire in women;
  • And more!

To listen to other episodes, or subscribe via your favorite podcast client, click here.


  1. Meta-analysis of 24 n-back neuroimaging studies have shown that during this task the following brain regions are consistently activated: lateral premotor cortex; dorsal cingulate and medial premotor cortex; dorsolateral and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex; frontal poles; and medial and lateral posterior parietal cortex.[23]

    A 2008 research paper claimed that practicing a dual n-back task can increase fluid intelligence (Gf), as measured in several different standard tests.[7] This finding received some attention from popular media, including an article in Wired

    Doubtful working memory improves long term regardless what type of training or the amount of time dedicated to the task.

    Why do WM neurons work better inside the brains of some rather than others, specifically, when examined with electron microscopes or other diagnostic tools? What differences distinguish them?

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