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Nina Marsh (M.Bus.) Wants to Give You a Sniff

Here at Cliscep we’re always pleased to signal a scientific paper even worse than the worst climate one, just to show that we’re not fighting on one front only. The lunatics have not only take over the asylum. They’re on the board of governors and running the care in the community programme, too.

Katabasis has found a snorter.

http://katabasis.me/2018/03/09/germans-research-ways-to-chemically-control-recalcitrant-natives/

It’s about drugging you into liking refugees and reducing xenophobia by giving you a sniff of something that makes you feel good. And it’s financed by the German government.

Katabasis is a bit upset about this and won’t link to the paper, but here it is

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5584433/

Katabasis wonders whether it’s a Sokal-style hoax, but I’m afraid not. The lead author is too far in for that, as one can discover at

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nina_Marsh

where her articles are listed. Nina is a PhD student at Bonn University medical center. She’s co-authored eight articles in three years on her magic drug, starting with exploring its effect on consumer brand relationships and working up to getting you to vote for the policies the German government favours and love Big Mutti. Before that, her single publication was a chapter in “New Perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility.”

Besides neurobiology and behavioural neurosciences, she also has skills and expertise in environmental and corporate sustainability. Who’d have imagined?

35 thoughts on “Nina Marsh (M.Bus.) Wants to Give You a Sniff

  1. Oh shit, I need to stop gazing into my dog’s eyes otherwise I’m going to end up giving heaps of cash to the sexual predators at Oxfam and start wandering around with ‘Refugees Welcome’ signs. Not just me either, the dog too could become far less xenophobic given that both our levels of Oxytocin will be elevated! A non-xenophobic Deutsche Schaferhund just does not bear thinking about!

    https://gazettereview.com/2015/04/a-gaze-between-dog-and-owner-releases-oxytocin/

    But maybe all is not lost. The research paper does say:

    “Here, we provide evidence that a xenophobic rejection of refugees can be reversed by coupling enhanced activity of the OXT system to a normative [moral or moral values] incentive for cooperation with peers; neither intervention alone was sufficient to alter selfish responses in Xi high scorers, illustrating the relative resistance of outgroup rejection to exogeneous modification.”

    So as long as I keep away from normative incentives, I should be OK.

    I’m making light of it, but it really is very serious if ‘research’ like this is making its way into the peer-reviewed literature.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. – 3 puff a day, keeps the xenophobia away – 😦

    “A total of 127 healthy male volunteers enrolled in the double-blind, randomized, parallel-group trial design and self-administered a dose of 24 IU (three puffs per nostril, each with 4 IU; Novartis) of OXTIN or PLCIN 40–45 min before the start of the donation task.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We’ve seen something similar before – remember S. Matthew Liao?
    http://www.smatthewliao.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/HEandClimateChange.htm

    “Increasing altruism and empathy could also help increase people’s willingness to assist those who suffer from climate change. While altruism and empathy have large cultural components, there is evidence that they also have biological underpinnings. This suggests that modifying them by human engineering could be promising. Indeed, test subjects given the prosocial hormone oxytocin were more willing to share money with strangers…”

    Of course, if that failed, the human race could always be shrunk:

    “A way to reduce ecological footprints, then, would be to reduce size. Since weight increases with the cube of length, even a small reduction in, e.g., height, might produce a significant effect in size, other things being equal (To reduce size, one could also try to reduce average weight or average weight and height, but to keep the discussion simple, we shall use just the example of height). Reducing the average US height by 15 cm would mean a mass reduction of 23% for men and 25% for women, with a corresponding reduction of metabolic rate (15%/18%), since less tissue means lower nutrients and energy needs.”

    Liked by 4 people

  4. You can download the supplemental information (the storylines to poke the respondents towards the desired objective) at
    http://www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1705853114/-/DCSupplemental.

    It’s stuff like:

    Herbert is 37 years old, was born in Koblenz (Germany) and lives in Germany. He is poor and cannot afford to buy fresh meat and fish at the grocery store. Do you donate some money to Herbert?

    Versus:

    Safiye is 24 years old, was born in Aleppo (Syria) and fled to Germany. She is poor and cannot afford to buy fresh fruit and vegetables at the grocery store. Do you donate some money to Safiye?

    You see what happened. The critic of unrestricted immigration wakes up, says, “Oh, they’re trying to make out I’m a fascist. I’ll vote for Safiye.”

    Or maybe he’s a vegetarian, like Safiye, or maybe he has a thing about twenty-something Arab ladies, but not about middle-aged men named Herbert…

    Who knows?

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Nina
    Than are dreamt of in your PhD thesis.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. I imagine that administering a substance without consent would be illegal not to mention potentially dangerous. It seems that it’s possible to be allergic to oxytocin, especially the artificial kind. It begs the question under what circumstances would people be dosed with it? Would it be used to calm an angry crowd – potentially justified. Or would school kids be wafted with it as they were indoctrinated in lessons? What about a local council meeting? Should it be found that people had been dosed, it would almost certainly cause a massive backlash. Good luck trying to calm an angry mob when every time they get calmer, they think you’ve hit them with oxytocin, even when you haven’t. Pictures of puppies and kittens to create the same effect naturally would be a red rag to a bull.

    It’s extraodinary that such a research would be even tried, never mind documented in a journal and linked to artificially influencing the public over immigration. It’s verging on war time experimentation.

    The public of Europe have been very patient. They’ve accepted a lot over the last 10 years but immigration is rapidly becomming the last straw. Governments have promised that if the public are good and accept austerity then when the bills are paid, things will get better. They’ve then invited a whole new set of people to the table. It might be the Christian thing to do but it’s also a massive slap in the face. No jam today and someone else ate the jam for tomorrow.

    The politicians are indulging in the pleasure of charity, and expecting the public to feel the same, but they miss the important difference between giving because you choose to and the money been given, without your say so. Call it taxation, call it theft but don’t call it charity.

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  6. I hope everyone who reads this goes to Katabasis’s analysis, which is much more thoroughgoing than anything I’m going to do.

    Just assessing this paper on it’s methodological approach alone, it should not have passed peer review. But then it should not have even left the confines of the scientivists’ head in their darkest fantasies either. Establishing the principle of this kind of control is exactly what the paper is all about and why it is so fundamentally disturbing.

    I absolutely agree with Katabasis that on scientific grounds alone, it should never have been published, let alone the fact that it is openly supports a political programme.

    Where I disagree with Katabasis is on the best strategy to adopt. He (or she) suggests complaining to the University of Bonn, and I urge people to do that, without the slightest hope that that will have any effect.

    I put Nina Marsh’s name in the title because I believe in the efficacity of the argumentum ad feminam . Let’s all sign up to Researchgate and everywhere else where she manifests herself and nip her burgeoning career in the bud. She has a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Let’s encourage her to follow her star and revert to administering businesses, and leave corporate sustainability to the corporatist sustainers The’ve got enough stuffed up their noses without them going all gooey over ladies from Aleppo who aren’t getting their daily fruit and veg.

    By the way, (and this is totally off topic) it might be nice if the academic world that supports this shit once in a while reflected on why Safiye got bombed out of Aleppo, who started the war, and who is now illegally occupying a quarter of her country. (Clue: it wasn’t Putin.)

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Isn’t this the same as dealing with unruly pets with hormone diffusers? Perhaps Nina Marsh (what an innocuous little name) should be played some Beethoven.

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  8. CW: “Nice course of Soma, anyone?”

    That’s the obvious implication. But I think the authors have formulated a darker and more insidious intervention: singing. Singing in big groups about how wonderful all immigrants are, and how bad fake news is.

    Given evidence indicating that social group activities with peers, such as singing in a choir (44), are associated with elevated endogenous OXT release (45), our findings suggest that greater focus should be placed on enabling positive social encounters among citizens of hosting countries that communicate a prosocial norm; that is, by affirming and emphasizing the benefits of ethnic diversity, religious pluralism, and cultural differentiation. This may include the promotion of balanced and informed media reporting, the integration of refugee themes to the curricula of schools and universities, or the organization of events that involve the general public and bring communities together by promoting sustained experience- and information-sharing on the situation of refugees (46).

    I would rather be forced to take drugs. Nothing is worse than forced singing. This is evidenced by the fact that most people pay other people to sing for them, making many of those singers extremely rich. They like to imagine themselves being the singer (or more complex: the singer is singing about or to them), but ultimately the understanding is that this is a fantasy that most people have the decency not to inflict on others.

    However, there is an existing body of very reliable historical, anecdotal and research-based evidence that shows events at which large groups of individuals are encouraged to sing (or chant) do not produce ‘pro-social’ behaviour.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Singing
    I always thought that Gareth Malone was the embodiment of evil. Those Military Wives were a definite hate group campaigning to wrest the Christmas top spot away from decent minstrels. Despicable.
    And as for monks and nuns, are they oxytonin fiends?
    And those communal chants at sports grounds. Sweet chariots….wots that all about?
    This is getting worse and worse.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ben, it worked for Coke sales! Obviously, they’re tempted to try the same method to sell multiculturalism.

    But it’s not 1971, it’s 2018 and sharing a pleasant tasting ice-cold sweet beverage with the world is a bit different than inviting the world across our borders so they can take what the hell they want.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What this paper proves is that in an honest exchange of ideas, the author knows she will lose. She knows that the only way she can prevail is by drugging people.

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  12. Hunter but this has been the case since time immemorial – the drug of choice: alcohol.

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  13. Here are two heartwarming news stories about a different Nina Marsh:

    PCSO Nina Marsh was entering the station in Polebarn Road just before 7am this morning when she spotted a mother duck acting out of character.

    and

    The quick thinking actions of officers have saved an elderly man who had fallen down a steep hill while looking for his lost dog.

    Off-topic, yes, but I thought it important to show that not all Nina Marshes spend their time – and other people’s money – making ‘Caucasians’ (‘German natives’ in the slightly racist Bonn University press release) stick stuff up their noses so they can test the willingness of outgroups to give tiny amounts of money to other outgroups that the testers want to be ingroups.

    Hic!

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  14. Well remembered, Jaime!

    I think Pablo Escobar had similar ideas about resolving global inequalities — to build hospitals, schools, and houses — if only more people would buy coke.

    Not quite as happy-clappy, nor appealing to people in snow-white turtle-neck sweaters. But ‘pro-social’ all the same. (If one squints one’s eyes to become as cock-eyed as Marsh et al.

    Arguably, of all three — Escobar, Coke and the authors — Escobar’s was the most honest interpretation of ‘pro-social’ ethics. Which is not to say I agree with it. But he built more schools.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. There’s other sciency stuff on the net which suggests oxytocin promotes altruism but only within one’s in-group, a conclusion apparently not shared by Nina Marsh et al.

    For instance this paper, which says “Oxytocin promotes group-serving dishonesty”:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/111/15/5503

    And this one, which says “Oxytocin Motivates Non-Cooperation in Intergroup Conflict to Protect Vulnerable In-Group Members”:
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0046751

    One might be forgiven for supposing it’s all a heap of contradictory mumbo-jumbo.

    Nevertheless, I’m sure a future 1990-style Public Control Dept could experiment with a two-pronged, Huxleyian/Orwellian approach to their work – discreetly installing diffusers into the ventilation systems of public places to nudge citizens’ brain chemistry, whilst relying on more traditional propaganda techniques to ensure people’s enmity is properly focussed upon an officially sanctioned out-group. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Meanwhile, back at the IPCC ranch … you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a new entity under the IPCC wing: CitiesIPCC. There was a three-day gathering of this group’s great and good over on my side of the pond, in Edmonton, AB March 5-7.

    As one might expect, there were platitudes – and inanities of the transformative kind – galore uttered during the proceedings. It seems that CitiesIPCC has conveniently guaranteed that there will be an AR7:

    The objectives of the conference included to: take stock of scientific literature, data and other sources of knowledge on cities and climate change since the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and build ongoing work as part of the AR6 cycle; identify key gaps with the aim of stimulating new research to be assessed by an AR7 special report on climate change and cities; and develop novel assessment frameworks that take into account the systemic linkage, synergies and trade-offs between urban systems and climate change.

    These “trade-offs between urban systems and climate change” should be fascinating, don’t you think?! But I digress … Evidently, there are many gaps, and much new “research” to conduct:

    IPCC Vice Chairs Youba Sokona and Thelma Krug reflected on some key points that emerged during the conference, including: the limited availability, quality and accessibility of city-level data on GHG emissions; the limited literature on climate change regarding cities in developing countries; the special challenge to assessment presented by the informal sector; and that understanding of policy and governance systems remains limited and fragmented.

    Who knows, perhaps the participants were given freebie doses of Oxytocin to help them brave the torrent of inanities;-)

    If you choose to bore yourself to tears, take a look at the whole summary, courtesy of the IISD

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I wonder how carefully Nina Marsh et al thought through the ramifications of abbreviating their ‘Xenophobia Index’ as ‘Xi’ …

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  18. There’s some interesting stuff in the two papers Alex links to above (11 Mar 18 at 11:27 pm).

    … healthy males (n = 60) receiving intranasal oxytocin, rather than placebo, lied more to benefit their group, and did so faster, yet did not necessarily do so because they expected reciprocal dishonesty from fellow group members. Treatment effects emerged when lying had financial consequences and money could be gained… In a control condition in which dishonesty only benefited participants themselves, but not fellow group members, oxytocin did not influence lying… These findings highlight the role of bonding and cooperation in shaping dishonesty, providing insight into when and why collaboration turns into corruption.

    …we link … defense-motivated competition to oxytocin, a hypothalamic neuropeptide involved in reproduction and social bonding… Oxytocin fuels a defense-motivated competitive approach to protect vulnerable group members, even when personal fate is not at stake.

    People will lie to protect members of their group, even when it doesn’t benefit them personally. At least, it works on a group of a hundred fit young adult males who haven’t taken any caffeine or alcohol in the previous 24 hours – a group not seen since the demise of Sparta.

    Add the fact that these fit young males are psychology students, under the control of their psychology professors whom they hope to please and emulate; and that all psychology researchers lie (there’s hardly an experiment you can set up without misleading your subjects) and we’re back to ancient Greece again, testing the Cretan Liar Paradox with modern game theory.

    Add the fact that oxytocin is a hypothalamic neuropeptide involved in reproduction, and you have to wonder whether shutting up these hundred fit males in cubicles behind curtains isn’t the weirdest thing since the Climategate emails.

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  19. Martin Sellner, Brittany Pettibone and Lauren Southern were all ‘oxytocined’ by the UK police before being handcuffed, illegally detained and summarily deported for their thought crimes, apparently. I suppose, on reflection, that’s better than a boot stamping on a human face – forever; although alas, Orwell should not be taken literally. These are very dark days indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Criticising psychology experiments for being unscientific is a bit like criticising Morris dancers because they don’t abide by the rules of Strictly Come Dancing. It’s a ritual, with its origins deep in the mists of a) mediaeval popular culture or b) late twentieth century academia. You divide your participants into two groups (or ‘sides’ in the case of the Morris) and then repeat the same actions over and over until exhausted. Then you go to the pub.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been both a musician for a Morris side and an undergraduate psychology student (both very briefly – I couldn’t take the alcohol consumption.) Both are harmless activities, as long as you don’t look for any hidden meaning in them. And in both cases, the remark: “Pull the other one, it’s got bells on” seems appropriate.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. The story was reported in the Daily Mail last August.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4779454/The-drug-cure-xenophobia.html

    I was going to say, singling out Nina Marsh in the title may be a bit unfair. The Gruppenführer appears to be René Hurlemann, marked as corresponding author on the paper and described by the Mail as “lead author” (often in the biological sciences the Grosse Käse tends to be the last author).

    There are quotes from him and Nina Marsh in the Mail article.

    Highly rated comments below the article include

    “That Germany would fund this sort of mind control study better terrify every citizen in Europe.”

    “Wow, right out of Brave New World or 1984. This is something Orwell or Huxley could have written about.”

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  22. I suppose that the unease (or downright opposition) with which most of us view the deliberate modification of another person’s free will by chemical means as profoundly objectionable. Even if the subjects are willing, the unease persists. When the experimental setup involves matters of social and political impact, objections should amplify because it is implicit that if experimental results are favourable they well could be employed upon us without our consent. Accordingly we would expect the greatest possible care to be taken to ensure the ethical framework of the experiments was of the highest possible standard. It was therefore of great interest that I read the methodology section of the paper. This did not inspire confidence.

    “study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Bonn, and was carried out in compliance with the latest revision of the Declaration of Helsinki. All participants gave written, informed consent.”

    That was it. The study was approved by an internal university committee and is said to comply with an international body whose rulings have no legal status.

    I leave it to you to judge if chemically manipulating subjects’ views upon immigration comply with the basic tenants of the Helsinki Declaration (they don’t in my book):

    “The fundamental principle is respect for the individual (Article 8), their right to self-determination and the right to make informed decisions (Articles 20, 21 and 22) regarding participation in research, both initially and during the course of the research. The investigator’s duty is solely to the patient (Articles 2, 3 and 10) or volunteer (Articles 16, 18), and while there is always a need for research (Article 6), the subject’s welfare must always take precedence over the interests of science and society (Article 5), and ethical considerations must always take precedence over laws and regulations (Article 9). [from Wikipedia]

    Liked by 1 person

  23. A bit off topic, but Susan Crockford is posting some interesting stuff. The alarmists are now claiming that their own estimates of polar bear populations are not really estimates in the normal sense of the word.
    And if course the climate gangs are seeking to at once ignore the science but also make certain Crockford is ignored as well.

    Like

  24. PAUL MATTHEWS
    Thanks for the information on the likely lead authorship of the paper. How odd for the Grosse Käse to lead from behind. Unfair or not, I still wanted to emphasise Nina Marsh’s participation, because of her Business Management Masters degree. It could be that she did nothing more than put the paper into correct English, but she’s still a business sustainability expert studying for a PhD at a Medical School and churning out more papers on medical research in two years than Albert Schweitzer wrote in a lifetime.

    I came across a Jordan Peterson interview in which he said that political correction, having conquered the humanities and social studies, was advancing in areas like business management. That sounded exaggerated, but the anti-Crockford paper had someone studying banking among the authors. This seems to be a trend.

    Let’s admit that there’s something cultural about the fact of this coming out of Germany. You can’t imagine Adam Corner or George Marshall getting into this kind of thing – can you? I don’t much mind people testing drugs on healthy young males, or even boasting about how 25 of them did something different with their one euro pocket money from the other 25. (Yes, the test situation was: “How many cents would you give to a needy person out of one euro if they were called Fritz or Mohammed?” and the same question was repeated fifty times.)

    The most significant fact was that this was done quite openly in support of a controversial government policy. This may be a first.

    Hunter reminds us of the Harvey paper, which was not just anti-Susan Crockford, but which named and attempted to shame the most active blogs which criticise official government policy on climate, again using absurdly redundant pseudo-statistical arguments to give the paper a scientific veneer. There seems to be a trend here.

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  25. To clarify my account above of the paper’s methodology: The hundred subjects were divided into two groups, (drug and placebo) and identified as xenophobe or not, giving 25 in each sub-group. To get a statistically significant result, each subject was asked essentially the same question fifty times, with different names substituted for Fritz and Mohammed, giving five thousand responses.

    It’s as if the pollsters predicted election results, not by interviewing a thousand respondents, but by asking twenty people: “Who are you voting for, Conservative or Labour?” “Which party has your support, Labour or Conservative?” “Who’s your favourite hypothalamic neuropeptide, Corbyn or May?” etc. fifty times over.

    Well, why not? It might work. And it would be sure to get peer-reviewed.

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  26. When I last applied for research funding (over ten years ago now) there was a presumption that your work would be of benefit to someone. You needed to identify the group(s) that might benefit – the “stakeholders” and the nature of the benefit. I don’t know if Germany now has a similar system but reading the preliminary sections of the paper being discussed, clearly identifies the stakeholders and the benefit to them – those who would influence and modify public reactions to policy about immigrants. I should like to think that such a study would not be funded in the UK on ethical grounds ( but am not sure it would be (would a besieged UK government support a study aimed at diluting continued opposition to Brexit?)). One would have thought that sensitivities might have caused German authorities to have prevented this type of research, given history.

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  27. Jaime are you suggesting that fair Nina had administered the “love drug” to the other three to make them smile?

    Like

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