Laundry and Logical Fallacies
At the recent EP3, Giando Iannetti provided a quick lesson in a logical fallacy known as ‘Affirming the consequent’ with the following example:
- When Lorimer does the laundry he uses more electricity
- Lorimer is using more electricity
- Therefore Lorimer is doing the laundry
The conclusion 3. is invalid because it can be false even if 1. and 2. are true. In other words, there are multiple reasons Lorimer might be using more electricity (he could be vacuuming or blow drying his hair…).
Giando raised this logical fallacy because of the corollary false argument:
- When a person experiences pain, certain parts of their brain are ‘active’ together
- Certain parts of this person’s brain are ‘active’ together
- Therefore this person is experiencing pain
Giando argued that 3. immediately above is also invalid because his group (and others) has shown that the same areas of an individual’s brain can be active when you provide very different stimuli – both nociceptive and non-nociceptive, and the individual reports very different subjective experiences.
Insula, Amygdala and Anterior Cingulate not necessary for pain
“I wouldn’t say that’s it’s wrong to say that the ‘pain matrix’ is involved in processing pain,” lead author Tim Salomons (University of Reading) told Gizmodo. “What’s wrong is the idea that it is specific to pain—in other words, that when you observe this pattern, you can’t just assume that person is in pain.”
From the paper:
“These results challenge the notion of a “pain matrix” and provide direct evidence that the insula, anterior cingulate, and amygdala are not necessary for feeling the suffering inherent to pain”
A cautionary note
The excellent work done by people like Giando and Tim Salomons (and their teams) should be a cautionary note for anyone in the business of Explaining Pain to avoid simplistic and inaccurate metaphors. Further, these findings sound a challenge to keep up to date with the foundational neurosciences, while at the same time exercising some healthy skepticism and critical thinking – no trivial task indeed.
We’re hitting the road and taking our NOI courses right across this great southern land:
Canberra 3 – 4 May Mobilisation of the Neuroimmune System (only Australian MONIS course for 2016)
Canberra 6 – 8 May Explain Pain and Graded Motor Imagery
Adelaide 14-15 May Pain, Plasticity and Rehabilitation (only Australian PPR course for 2016)
Noosa 17 – 19 June Explain Pain and Graded Motor Imagery (GMI is now FULL)
Perth 15 – 17 October Explain Pain and Graded Motor Imagery
EP3 events have sold out three years running in Australia, and we are super excited to be bringing this unique format to the United States in late 2016 with Lorimer Moseley, Mark Jensen, David Butler, and few NOI surprises.
EP3 EAST Philadelphia, December 2, 3, 4 2016
EP3 WEST Seattle, December 9, 10, 11 2016
To register your interest, contact NOI USA:
p (610) 664-4465