Articles on This Site

I’m going to be taking a break from posting new content for a while. This post describes some of the writing on my site. My email address is svsnyder@gmail.com

Pages:

Ebola: I originally published this page when Ebola spread to the USA, and then I updated it a year later to include more research.

Free Will: This page critiques the idea of free will and shows why believing in free will is living a lie.

Genetics: Here I share my raw data and results from 23andMe.

Healthcare Companies: This page has a long list of public and private biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and other healthcare companies.

Posts:

Advertising: This extensive critique of the advertising industry shows how advertising hurts individuals and societies.

Being Fat Isn’t Your Fault: Obesity is a natural outcome of physical forces and not a moral failure, and this article explains why.

How to Find Treatments: This post gives a step-by-step technique to locate information on treating medical conditions, including how to find medical studies and clinical trials.

I Have a Humanities Degree and Think the Arts and Humanities are Worthless: Even the most arrogant STEM students can’t match my vitriol towards the arts and humanities.

In Defense of the Surveillance State: In this post I tackle the unenviable task of defending America’s surveillance infrastructure and outline some potential safeguards to prevent abuses.

Living Scientifically: This is a guide to applying the scientific method to one’s life and how to find scientific publications.

Only 60s, 70s, and 80s Kids will Remember the Threat of Nuclear Annihilation: While my peers were having fun in college, I was one of the few people from my generation to spend time living in fear of nuclear war. Those fears were much more common in earlier generations, as this post explains.

Prediction and the Fear of Death: Here I explain why predictive power is so important and why more people need to be living in fear.

Self-Compassion Research: This is a summary of the benefits of self-compassion as a trait and how self-compassion training can improve wellness.

The End of Human Software Testing: Here I say goodbye to a career and show how software testing will evolve.

The End of the Set Top Box and the End of TV: In this post I say goodbye to another former career.

The Hussman-Sornette Market Predictors: This post speculates on combining two predictive techniques to forecast stock market returns.

Posted in Uncategorized

Advertising

Advertising is fundamentally non-consensual. Advertising jumps right at you or sneaks up on you. Advertising penetrates your consciousness without asking for your permission first. Advertising presses its full weight on your mind and doesn’t let go until it pounds itself into your body image and self-image, damaging it for a lifetime. Advertising gets people to ruin their personal finances by convincing them to buy things they don’t need, negatively impacts body image, and will soon reshape the brain with even greater force through the use of neuromarketing. An annotated bibliography at the end of this post describes the impact of advertising on the brain and its negative effects on human psychology.

Ethicists argue that blocking ads is acceptable and moral. Capturing and exploiting human attention through advertising isn’t very ethical in the first place, so victims of advertising are justified in fighting back. Consultants help designers exploit errors in human decision-making to sell products that detract from people’s quality of life. Each year brings a greater invasion of privacy by ad companies. The arms race between ad fraud bots and publishers continues to erode user privacy. Unlike other companies that actually provide meaningful products and services to real people, adtech companies only pursue short-term greed.

Advertising causes people to waste mental energy over dueling memes. Advertising companies are staffed by psychologists, designers, and programmers who manipulate opinions in ways that make people question whether their thoughts are their own – or if those thoughts were implanted to make people buy something. Word of mouth marketing turns people into mental zombies who spread these memetic viruses to their friends and family. Economics Nobel winners George Akerlof and Robert Shiller characterize advertising as a form of “phishing” that exploits psychological errors in human brains. Human beings aren’t the rational actors described by outdated economic thinking. Behavioral economics shows that advertising can get consumers to buy things or engage in behaviors that go against their long-term interests.

Advertising technology is a bubble that displaces venture capital funding from more useful and valuable startups. Most adtech money ends up flowing to the big companies like Google and Facebook anyway. Online advertising effectiveness continues to decline and has in fact been declining since the birth of the web. As younger generations (who click on ads less often) grow up and make up a larger percentage of web users, online advertising will lose what little effectiveness it still has.

Clickthrough rates have been declining for online ads. Eye-tracking research shows how many web users now visually block out ads. Very few people signed up for Google Contributor, a program where users can pay to avoid some percentage of ads (not even all ads!) on the sites they visit. It’s easier to use an ad blocker than to pay for a program like Contributor that doesn’t even block all ads.

The marketing and advertising for games supported by in-app purchases takes advertising to a new low. Game companies stalk high-spending users on Facebook so they can find ways to manipulate them. Even some game industry insiders are calling for regulation to deal with shady game industry practices. The ethically murky fantasy sports industry accounted for most TV ad growth in Q3 2015. Misleading advertising for thinly-disguised gambling sites encourages people to bet against their best interests. Competition from Netflix is leading cable channels to show fewer ads. Advertising is so repellent that subscription services without ads are drawing more people away from cable TV.

Advertising not only pollutes cultural spaces, it also pollutes mental spaces. Ads coerce people into going against their own interests. The intrusiveness of advertising has reached the point where the UN is exploring whether ads violate cultural rights. The people and groups who can afford to put up ads are those who gained their wealth through inheritance and luck in unequal societies. Cities and states are reducing the number of billboards they have. Billboards are visual pollution that invade an individual’s space whenever that person leaves home.

Product integration is a form of native advertising on TV. People are mistaken when they think there’s a clear line of demarcation between a TV show and ads. Product placement appears in many TV shows and even movies. The growing publishing company Medium is also a growing source of native advertising. Instead of writing a press release, companies can write an essay on Medium disguised as an informative article.

One of many studies on advertising shows that food advertising leads children to consume more – nearly 50% more food! Food advertising can prime automatic eating behavior and is one of many contributors to obesity that happens outside conscious awareness. Many teenagers can’t tell the difference between search results and Google ads. More than half of 12 to 15-year-olds were unaware that YouTube vloggers were often paid to support certain products. Many brands use misleading techniques on children and teens to create lifelong customers, so this comes as no surprise.

Advertising is based on distraction. It seeks to capture and hold attention, reducing the amount of time left for ad-free thinking. Ads are unavoidable in some places. Many websites and apps are designed to encourage compulsive behavior. This design encourages users to spend as much time as possible on a web app or native app, which then increases the amount of advertising that user gets exposed to. Society and those companies then put the blame on the addicted individual for not being strong enough to resist temptation that was deliberately engineered to bypass willpower.

Professor Noam Chomsky describes how native advertising illustrates the fundamental problem of close connections between advertisers and the media. Reliance on advertisers distorts the media and reduces much of its freedom. A majority of readers can’t distinguish between native advertising and an actual news article. Parents who blog, like “mommy bloggers”, are beholden to advertisers and corporate sponsors. This then affects their interactions with readers and even with their own families. The line between sponsored content and exploiting children is blurred in these situations.

Publishers use clickbait to entice readers to go to certain article pages. This clickbait also prompts people to share articles, which increases page views even more and adds to ad views and ad clicks. Clickbait promotes outrage culture and witch-hunts as a means of getting more market share and ad revenue for publishers. The media has a well-defined formula for manufacturing and spreading outrage.

Most Internet users in the USA are against targeted advertising. Advertising is a form of signaling that may or may not be accurate. Targeted ads are making the Internet worse. A paper published by Harvard and University of Chicago economists estimated the ratio of different professions’ social value in to the costs in salaries. Advertising and marketing had a negative ratio. For every dollar spent in advertising salaries, thirty cents is lost in social value. Online branding is soul-sucking for the people who work for those companies. Advertising also wastes physical energy through increased energy consumption when the hardware in smartphones and tablets and computers loads and renders ads.

This year PageFair released its ad blocking report in partnership with Adobe. According to the report, 45 million users in the USA are now fighting back against intrusive advertising by using ad blockers. The number of people using ad blocking technology is growing by 41% globally year over year. The heroic and forward-thinking people who use ad blockers are denying nearly $22 billion in revenue to advertisers and their sycophants. There’s still plenty of room for ad blocking to grow on desktop browsers and especially on mobile browsers.

Apple offers content blocking technology for mobile web ad blocking in iOS 9. Unfortunately, Apple still has in-app ads through iAd unless someone finds a workaround. I’m glad Google is organizing itself into its new Alphabet form so the new conglomerate can keep its dirty ad-driven businesses away from its more pure divisions that focus on life extension and energy efficiency. The arms race continues as advertising technology companies develop ways of thwarting ad blockers and forcing web users to view ads. Ad blockers will probably respond with their own countermeasures, since 47% of Americans use ad blockers already according to findings from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Many people are concerned about advertisers spying on them, and rightfully so. More than 90% of web users don’t like privacy abuses on commercial web sites. Some refer to adtech as a digital cancer. People are fighting back. The browser extension AdNauseum clicks on every ad to obfuscate the online spying that advertising networks engage in. It allows users to fight back against corporate tracking. Unfortunately, tracking and spying by ads is now entering the physical world.

Some ads are now using inaudible high-frequency sounds to track behavior across the various connected devices that people use. The FTC is investigating companies that use this unnerving cross-device tracking technology for marketing purposes. Outdoor ads are using cameras to track and respond to people. Vizio smart TVs track viewing data to share with advertisers. Some Samsung smart TVs listen in on TV viewers and may share that information with advertisers. Facebook is using even more intrusive techniques like face recognition, speech recognition, and GPS tracking to gain marketing data on individuals. Fortunately, Facebook warned investors that its revenue could by impacted by ad blockers as the tide is changing.

Malware is being delivered through online advertising. Compromising just one ad network could lead to the distribution of malware and the infection of many sites and many users. Ad blocking extensions can block this malvertising. The Daily Mail was one of many companies to display ads that linked to malware. Even companies that try to block ad blockers aren’t immune from malware. The PageFair ad-blocking circumvention tool was hacked on Halloween. It ended up distributing malware to readers of The Economist website and to readers of hundreds of other sites. In many ways, ad technology itself behaves like malware. WhiteHat Security concludes that adtech exploits a web page’s Document Object Model. This will make advertising companies the ultimate technical victor in the conflict over ad blocking unless regulators intervene.

Ads displayed by major ad networks discriminate against certain groups, according to an analysis by computer scientists. Fraud also continues to outwit online advertising technology firms and take money from advertisers and their lackeys. Many brands learned the hard way that most of the ad impressions they pay for don’t reach human beings. Even many video ads are accessed by bots instead of people. As ad executive Bob Hoffman says, “I can think of nothing that has done more harm to the Internet than ad tech.”

Ad fraud may cost advertisers $6.5 billion in 2015 alone. Researchers discovered that between 88% and 98% of clicks in the advertising platforms of major companies – Google, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn – were by some type of bot (study PDF). While ad fraud unfortunately supports organized crime, advertising as a whole is so evil that this is a case where the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Even if Google successfully solves the problem of ad fraud, ad blocking options are still available to resist advertising in an ethical manner.

The head of the Interactive Advertising Bureau refers to ad blocking as robbery and extortion. That’s really rich coming from someone representing an industry that brainwashes people. If advertising really represents $350 billion of the U.S. gross national product as he says, it’s a profound malinvestment that should have been invested in more useful and profitable areas like better medical treatments and clean energy. If the IAB tried to sue ad blockers, it probably wouldn’t win. Courts are rejecting attempts to shut down companies that make ad blocking software.

More and more people are discovering that blocking ads improves the user experience on the web. People are boycotting advertising after being barraged by intrusive and privacy-eroding ads. Many smartphone users were beginning to avoid mobile browsing until Apple offered the technology for developers to create content blockers. Results from a survey of people using the Crystal ad blocker on iOS shows that most people want to block mobile ads to limit visual clutter, speed up browsing, and control privacy. Ad blockers provide something of value and people who use mobile ad blockers are willing to pay to remove something (ads) that provides negative value.

Comscore and Sourcepoint discovered that 1 in 4 Internet users in Germany and France have ad blocking software. That figure is only 1 in 10 users in the USA and UK, which means ad blocking has plenty of room for growth in many countries. GlobalWebIndex found that 23% of women use an ad blocker, and that number could also grow. A study of Adblock Plus at Simon Fraser University discovered that the ad blocker was effective in reducing network data usage. Ad blockers are becoming better at blocking native ads, for instance removing Buzzfeed’s promoted placements.

The browser that ships on Asus devices will soon block ads by default. This is a positive development and hopefully other hardware companies will follow Asus’ lead. Adblock Analytics has data from millions of pageviews that shows only a small percentage of mobile users block ads. If only two or three percent of mobile users are blocking ads, that means mobile ad blocking is a huge growth market. Hundreds of millions of users in emerging markets use mobile browsers that block ads by default to reduce the strain on networks in those countries. This is a massive amount of people living in economies of growing importance who are used to an ad-free web and will want to keep it that way.

An experiment by the New York Times found that advertising has major impacts on mobile data usage and loading times. The data usage costs from advertising alone can add up over time. Mobile carriers like O2 are working on ways to block ads across their entire network. This approach makes sense because ads are a drain on mobile networks. Other carriers could also pursue this strategy of blocking ads at the network level. Shine Technologies blocks mobile ads as if they were malware and Digicel is rolling out their technology. The United Kingdom’s largest mobile operator EE is exploring making mobile ad blocking available to subscribers.

A survey from AOL found that 62% of online video ad viewers were upset there were so many ads. Respondents were even angrier when it came to mobile video ads. Ad blocking software could also improve the user experience of people with disabilities. Autoplaying videos and other intrusive ads make it difficult for people with nonstandard computer hardware to navigate the web.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said that ad blocking hurts the web experience. Considering that Yahoo has destroyed much of the value of most of its acquisitions and only functions as a holding company for Alibaba stock, I’m inclined to trust the ad blocking companies instead of her. Mayer’s statements were also self-interested because Yahoo gets most of its revenue from online advertising. Ad blocker usage is still following an upward trajectory, with anywhere from 400 million to nearly 2 billion users expected to be blocking ads within the next few years. Yahoo and other web companies that rely on advertising revenue may have to adapt sooner rather than later.

Advertising columnist Stuart Elliott says that advertisers are reaping what they sowed online. Digital advertising executives displayed such callousness and greed that they ruined the web for average people. Obnoxious ads and the slow loading times of ad-filled web pages damaged the user experience. 82% of web users don’t care about any financial impact ad blockers have on businesses. I was surprised the number was this high, but it makes sense after considering how frustrated people are with clutter and misleading information on the web.

A series of four posts from The Brooks Review tested iOS content blockers to determine which one was the fastest. The exact numbers might have changed since those posts were written in September, but it’s good to know that the iOS content blocker space rapidly flourished. Firefox is offering their Focus content blocker for free. It increases privacy and reduces mobile data usage.

Ad blockers also present an interesting case of campaign finance reform, even though they aren’t usually considered in that way. As more people began to spend more time online, a greater part of political spending also migrated online. Super PACs succeeded in loosening many of the restrictions that prevented them from raising and spending vast amounts of money. If this ad spending takes place online, ad blockers can block much of it. I hope mobile ad blocking continues to increase in popularity so mobile users aren’t barraged with misleading political ads.

One line of argument states that blocking ads hurts publishers, but most publishers and sources of news deserve to disappear anyway. Many news sites just steal others’ work or spread rumors or post slightly rewritten press releases. Even worse, news sites help feed outrage mobs and online shaming that destroys people’s lives. As native advertising grows, those publishers will become even more useless when they start adding more and more sponsored content. Most of the sites are already useless since PR copy from corporations and interest groups started infiltrating lazy journalists’ stories a long time ago. People would be better off learning useful skills and gaining scientific knowledge from nonprofit sources instead of reading the average news site. I would gladly trade all advances in web and mobile technology over the past twenty years for twenty years of additional advancement in medicine instead.

Many publishers display ads on their sites because they’ve been forced into a corner by ad networks. Advertisers and publishers claim to be victims of ad blockers but they don’t extend that privilege to their real victims. A common pro-advertising argument states that people can just choose to ignore advertising. Unfortunately, most advertising is too intrusive to ignore. Just like free will, personal responsibility (like the presumed responsibility of people to ignore advertising or the choice to not be influenced by ad culture) is an unscientific myth that stems from victim blaming and just-world biases. If people become obese or spend all their money it’s actually not their fault but instead the result of a brain shaped by gene-environment interactions and influenced by the advertising industry. Advertising spending in the USA alone is projected to reach $200 billion by 2017. Global ad spending is estimated at $540 billion in 2015. Why would all this money be spent on advertising if it had no effect on people?

Everyone is a victim of something in life even if they don’t realize it yet. Free will never existed in the first place since human beings are controlled by physical forces that they don’t choose, but human actions are even more determined now by advertising strategies powered by user tracking and big data. The Citizens United v. FEC decision means that interest groups and super PACs can spend as much as they want on neuromarketing and the psychology of advertising to brainwash people and influence the political process. Neuromarketing is also being used to promote alcohol, which remains a major cause of death and crime when used in excess. Neuromarketing is a growing field, aptly demonstrated by this extensive list of neuromarketing companies. Even when people give legal consent to be marketed to, like when they watch a program on TV, do they realize the true extent of the manipulation they signed up for?

Instead of doing something useful for humanity like medical researchers do, advertisers don’t do anything valuable to extend human lifespan. In many cases, advertisers contribute to prematurely ending human life and harming public health by promoting unhealthy food and tobacco products. Advertisers will contribute to millions of deaths through tobacco advertising in emerging markets just like they did in the United States. Advertisers’ lives have no value since their consciousness will disappear into nothingness after adding no value to others’ lives. The lives of advertisers’ children are also worthless since those children are just being raised by ad-men and ad-women who are empty at best and evil at worst. Thanks to their genes and environment, those children will probably grow up only to ignore consent and bully others and live lives just as empty as those their parents lived.

People who work in advertising will eventually grow older and fatter and out of touch with youth culture. When that happens, they will find themselves increasingly marginalized by a lookist and ageist society shaped as a result of their own work. Will they realize that they brought it upon themselves through their contributions to the world of advertising? Regular people already realize the negative influence advertisers have on society. Advertisers are disliked nearly as much as criminals are. Women who work in the advertising industry are especially faced with challenges because of advertising’s non-consensual and body-shaming roots. Advertisers aren’t moral enough to do something that actually helps people and they aren’t intelligent enough to do something that solves real problems.

Physicist and writer Casey Johnston wrote an interesting article at The Awl called Welcome to the Block Party (subtitle: The internet after ad blocking). The article isn’t the simplistic defense of ads that some people initially thought it was. The author became understandably perturbed by people misinterpreting her article on Twitter, so I made sure to read it out loud line by line just to make sure I understood it correctly. She clearly states that display ads and tracking networks aggravate users. Subscriptions and micropayments don’t work since few readers are willing to pay. The real problem the article describes is that annoying web ads may be bad now, but the loss of ads could lead to greater centralization of power on the web that ends up benefiting a few large companies at the expense of everyone else. It could cause an even greater loss of privacy in a future world where platforms like Facebook and Google exercise near-monopolistic control over the web and most online publishers go out of business. It could also lead to greater use of native advertising indistinguishable from the rest of a site’s content. I wanted to use Johnston’s article as a starting point to show how I’m actually fine with these scenarios.

Advertising is intrusive and nonconsensual in all forms. Advertising is also why most television programming deserves to go away, which I describe in the last part of this post on cable boxes and TV. Near-native advertising already makes up the bulk of web publishing content, as lazy journalists rely on PR firms employed by companies or interest groups. Many people would be better off with technocratic information consumption based around learning new skills or reading free medical papers, instead of the current punditocracy obsessed with celebrities and politics and culture. Many writers in the media elite have backgrounds in the humanities, and I think the arts and humanities are worthless. I spend time worrying about death every day, so the problems of web publishers and writers seem insignificant by comparison.

If Google and Facebook take over the entire web, then it’s time to create a new web. People exist who are obsessively focused on global goals more meaningful than getting clicks for ad revenue. I think it was the polymath Nassim Taleb, one of the most prominent endorsers of going on a news diet, who pointed out that if journalists actually had any predictive power they would be wealthy investors instead of underpaid journalists. I don’t care if anyone loses their job, but I don’t want them to suffer either. This sounds contradictory, but a guaranteed minimum income would solve the problem of keeping people out of poverty while reducing the financial pain of job loss. Sadly that remains a utopian concept for now, so the best alternative strategy is to expand existing social safety nets to reduce human suffering while the global economy transitions to a more beneficial system based almost entirely on biological research and medical treatments.

Dave Mark of The Loop compiled an excellent list of content blockers for iOS 9, so you can get started blocking ads in mobile Safari on iPhones and iPads. AdBlock, Adblock Plus, and uBlock Origin are excellent plugins for ad-free web browsing on desktop and laptop computers. Marco Arment, developer of the Peace content blocker for iOS 9, recently withdrew his app from the App Store even though it became the number one paid app in the USA for 36 hours. This was unfortunate, but luckily other developers continue to provide content blockers. At one point, the top two paid apps in the App Store are ad blockers.

Crystal creator Dean Murphy probably laughed all the way to the bank after Arment withdrew his content blocker. I got Crystal when it was initially free. It makes browsing the web on my iPhone much more tolerable. Crystal eventually became a paid app, but other developers may be inspired to develop free content blockers as a way of making a name for themselves, especially if Crystal adopts “acceptable ads” in the future. Some people jokingly think Arment got paid off by big ad companies that made it worth his while to withdraw his content blocker. I think he just developed the wrong kind of ethics.

Arment frets that his Peace app blocked all ads, even supposedly unobtrusive ads. Maybe he was worried about upsetting the insufferably twee hipsters in his web social circle who depend on ad revenue for their sites that constantly write about how frequently and how vigorously to check one’s privilege. These are the type of websites that use “The Deck” ad network for earning revenue while sharing their enthusiasm for boring design and bad art. MetaFilter uses The Deck as one source of revenue, and it’s a place where the answer to every question is “get therapy!” (which by the way doesn’t work).

Maybe he upset journalist friends who write for news sites that have articles and ads that make their readers feel inadequate and undesirable. Arment could have kept selling the content blocker and taken pleasure in the knowledge that he was also denying funds to right-wing sites that rely on ad revenue. Advertising damages everyone’s minds, but women and children are especially targeted by advertising that seeks to warp their sense of self for a lifetime. Brave people vandalized ads that made women feel ashamed of their bodies. Culture jamming is the AdBlock of the real world.

Maybe someday Marco Arment will reverse his decision to remove his Peace app from the App Store. The money isn’t the important thing. The important thing is preventing others from being harmed by ads that negatively impact their emotions and which condition them to buy items they don’t need. Sourcepoint CEO Ben Barokas compares ad blocking to a war on publishers and “an extinction level event”. Here are real extinction level events. Most web publishing is unimportant, since human life is ultimately pointless if individuals just pass away in the end. If ad-funded sites went away, scientists and nonprofit groups would continue to produce valuable content for the web, just like they did in the early hopeful days of the web.

This quote on advertising does an excellent job at describing the industry:

People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you. You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity. FUCK THAT. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head. You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe then any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.

Advertising and the Brain:

Brain Responses to Food Logos in Obese and Healthy Weight Children – Obese children have greater activation in reward regions of the brain when seeing food logos.

Branding and a child’s brain: an fMRI study of neural responses to logos – Children’s brains show greater activation to food logos in regions associated with motivation and attention than to non-food logos.

Evaluation of TV commercials using neurophysiological responses – A “happiness index” measured by brain waves can be used to develop more engrossing commercials.

Leptin Is Associated With Exaggerated Brain Reward and Emotion Responses to Food Images in Adolescent Obesity – Obese adolescents show exaggerated activity in reward and emotion regions of the brain in response to food images.

Mapping a multidimensional emotion in response to television commercials – Emotional changes in the brain involving the inferior frontal gyri and middle temporal gyri, and in the right superior temporal gyrus and right middle frontal gyrus, play a role in human response to advertising.

Neural predictors of purchases – Activation in regions of the nucleus accumbens, insula, and mesial prefrontal cortex influences purchasing decisions.

Neuromarketing and consumer neuroscience: contributions to neurology – Brand preference, celebrity endorsement, and trust involve certain regions and networks of the brain and could be used by neuromarketers.

Neuromarketing: the hope and hype of neuroimaging in business – Many neuromarketers rely on activation in the nucleus accumbens, which has a strong statistical relationship with reward-related processes. Research on brain responses to political candidates could also be used to select candidates that are superficially appealing.

Predicting Advertising Success Beyond Traditional Measures: New Insights from Neurophysiological Methods and Market Response Modeling – Activity in the ventral striatum is the best predictor of response to advertising.

Relation of obesity to neural activation in response to food commercials – Adolescents experience greater activation in attention and reward regions of the brain during food commercials.

Severity of dependence modulates smokers’ neuronal cue reactivity and cigarette craving elicited by tobacco advertisement –  Tobacco advertising elicits brain activity associated with craving in both smokers and nonsmokers.

Advertising and Body Image:

Depicting Women as Sex Objects in Television Advertising: Effects on Body Dissatisfaction – Sexist ads increase body dissatisfaction in both women and men.

Extending Social Comparison: An Examination of the Unintended Consequences of Idealized Advertising Imagery – Advertising that includes images of physical attractiveness and financial success has negative effects on males’ self-perceptions.

Idealized media images and adolescent body image: “comparing” boys and girls – TV commercials promoting certain body ideals increase body dissatisfaction and negative mood.

The Effect Of Television Commercials On Mood And Body Dissatisfaction: The Role Of Appearance-Schema Activation – Appearance-related commercials increase anger and body dissatisfaction in women.

The Effect of Thin Ideal Media Images on Women’s Self-Objectification, Mood, and Body Image – Magazine ads lead to greater appearance anxiety, negative mood, and body dissatisfaction in women.

The Impact of Media Exposure on Males’ Body Image – Males become more depressed when shown ads with images of ideal males.

Posted in Uncategorized

Self-Compassion Research

Self-compassion is associated with reductions in anxiety, depressive symptoms, eating disorder symptoms, PTSD symptoms, self-criticism, shame, and stress-induced inflammation. It’s associated with increased happiness, life satisfaction, meaning in life, motivation, optimism, psychological well-being, and resilience. Researchers are exploring the benefits of interventions to increase self-compassion. Therapies incorporating self-compassion offer the potential to augment or even replace other forms of therapy for mental health problems.

Unlike efforts to increase self-esteem, self-compassion doesn’t increase narcissism. Self-compassion also enhances motivation for self-improvement. The next step is to take self-compassion beyond the realm of psychology and into the world of neuroscience to test if interventions to increase self-compassion can lead to changes in the brain associated with reduced negative mood and increased well-being. The following list summarizes studies involving associations between self-compassion and beneficial traits, as well as the results of interventions to increase self-compassion.

• A loving-kindness meditation course decreased posttraumatic stress symptoms through self-compassion in veterans with PTSD.

• A loving-kindness meditation program increased self-compassion and reduced self-criticism and depressive symptoms in self-critical adults.

• A mindfulness based stress reduction intervention increased self-compassion among first-year medical students.

• A mindfulness intervention increased self-compassion in adolescents, which was then negatively associated with perceived stress.

• A mindfulness intervention increased self-compassion in breast-feeding mothers.

• A mindfulness training course increased self-compassion in parents and educations of children with special needs.

• A mindfulness-based cognitive therapy group increased self-compassion in pregnant women.

• A mindfulness-based stress reduction program increased self-compassion in elderly people from a continuing care community.

• A mindfulness-based stress reduction program increased self-compassion, which was strongly associated with psychological functioning.

• A self-compassion condition reduced depressed mood in participants who met criteria for major depressive disorder.

• A self-compassion intervention in varsity women athletes reduced self-criticism and rumination.

• A self-compassion intervention increased self-compassion, mindfulness, optimism, and self-efficacy among female college students.

• A two-chair dialogue exercise increased self-compassion in self-critical people.

• A virtual reality program involving a virtual body increased feelings of self-compassion in healthy female volunteers.

• Adults who completed a mindfulness-based stress reduction program reported increases in self-compassion.

• Adults with cancer diagnoses who were higher in self-compassion had less anxiety when thinking about their illness.

• An acceptance and commitment therapy workshop was successful in increasing self-compassion.

• An outdoor adventure program increased self-compassion in young adult cancer survivors.

• Brief training in self-compassion reduced salivary alpha-amylase and anxiety responses in women.

• College age women reported lower levels of disordered eating on days when they reported higher levels of appearance-related self-compassion.

• College-aged women with high levels of self-compassion had lower levels of body shame, depression, and negative eating attitudes.

• Compassion-focused therapy increased self-compassion and positive emotional responses in people with posttraumatic stress disorder.

• Components of self-compassion predicted happiness in a study of 365 people.

• Currently and remitted depressed individuals reported lower self-compassion than a never-depressed control group.

• Depressed patients showed lower levels of self-compassion than never-depressed individuals.

• Eating disorder patients participating in compassion-focused therapy who had greater increases in their level of self-compassion had faster decreases in feelings of shame.

• Experimentally enhancing attachment security led to increases in self-compassion.

• Factors of self-compassion were positively associated with flourishing in university students.

• Factors of self-compassion were positively related to social safeness in Turkish university students.

• Giving support to another person increased self-compassion in a series of experiments.

• Greek army recruits who lost weight had higher self-compassion scores.

• Habitual use of self-compassion reduced negative emotions in undergraduate students.

• Healthy young adults who were higher in self-compassion had lower levels of stress-induced inflammation as measured by interleukin-6 responses.

• High fear of self-compassion strongly predicted eating disorder pathology in female patients entering eating disorder treatment.

• High self-compassion was inversely correlated with anxiety and depression in persons living with HIV.

• Higher levels of self-compassion predicted greater reductions in depression symptoms among first-year psychology students.

• Higher levels of self-compassion were associated with less emotional intrusion among divorcing adults.

• Higher levels of self-compassion were associated with lower levels of emotional turmoil and higher levels of relational well-being in undergraduates thinking of a time when their needs conflicted with the needs of another person in a close relationship.

• Higher levels of self-compassion were related to lower shame in men.

• Higher self-compassion predicted lower body mass index and fewer eating disorder symptoms in college students.

• Higher self-compassion scores were associated with lower scores on scales measuring symptoms of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder among veterans.

• Higher self-compassion was associated with lower body shame in college women.

• Higher self-compassion was associated with lower disordered eating in women.

• In undergraduate students, self-compassion was positively associated with happiness, optimism, positive affect, wisdom, initiative, curiosity, agreeableness, extroversion, and conscientiousness.

• Increased in self-compassion over a one-month period were associated with increased psychological well-being.

• Increased self-compassion after mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was associated with increased activation of neural networks related to positive emotion regulation in patients with recurrent depression.

• Increasing self-compassion by writing about important values led to more pro-social behaviors.

• Levels of self-compassion predicted 12-month PTSD symptom severity among war veterans.

• Low self-compassion was associated with increased psychological distress among breast cancer survivors.

• Low self-esteem had little effect on mental health in Australian adolescents who were high in self-compassion.

• Lower self-compassion and higher fear of self-compassion were associated with greater shame among patients with eating disorders.

• Lower self-compassion was associated with increased depressive and stress symptoms in patients with cancer or chronic illnesses.

• MDMA increased self-compassion in recreational Ecstasy users.

• Medical students who took a course combining meditation and yoga with neuroscience education experienced a rise in levels of self-compassion.

• Meditation was associated with greater self-compassion and lower shame-proneness in undergraduate students.

• Mind-body bridging increased self-compassion and salivary oxytocin levels in cancer survivors who were experiencing sleep disturbances.

• Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for patients with medically unexplained symptoms improved self-compassion, which improved self-care.

• Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy improved outcomes via self-compassion in patients with prior depressive episodes.

• Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy increased self-compassion and reduced anxiety in adults with intellectual disabilities.

• Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy increased self-compassion in patients who were vulnerable to recurrent depression and anxiety.

• Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy increased self-compassion in people with chronic fatigue syndrome.

• Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy increased self-compassion in pregnant women with generalized anxiety.

• Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy increased self-compassion in trainee clinical psychologists.

• Mindfulness-based stress reduction enhanced self-compassion in female mental healthcare workers.

• New college students with higher scores in self-compassion reported lower homesickness and less depression.

• Patients with personality disorders undergoing clarification-oriented psychotherapy who experienced good outcomes showed more self-compassion.

• People who participated in experiments to increase self-compassion experienced greater motivation to improve themselves.

• People with HIV/AIDS who had higher self-compassion were less likely to engage in sexual risk behavior.

• People with unresolved emotions regarding past offenses experienced greater self-compassion after undergoing emotion-focused counseling.

• Procrastination was associated with lower levels of self-compassion across four samples of adults.

• Rejection sensitivity was negatively predicted by self-compassion among university students.

• Seeking Safety therapy increased self-compassion in outpatients with comorbid pathological gambling and posttraumatic stress disorder.

• Self-compassion buffered depression and anxiety in nonclinical undergraduates.

• Self-compassion buffers self-coldness related to depression.

• Self-compassion components helped protect self-critical Chinese adults from depression.

• Self-compassion correlated with autonomy and body appreciation among women athletes.

• Self-compassion correlates with less depression/anxiety and greater life satisfaction.

• Self-compassion functioned as a mediator to emotional well-being in adolescents in an urban high school.

• Self-compassion helped buffer patients with diabetes against negative metabolic consequences of distress.

• Self-compassion helps maintain women’s body appreciation during body-related threats.

• Self-compassion increased positive automatic thoughts and decreased trait anxiety in Japanese people.

• Self-compassion induction reduced distress among college women who were highly restrictive eaters.

• Self-compassion is a robust predictor of symptom severity and quality of life among people seeking help for anxious distress.

• Self-compassion is related to well-being in exercise contexts among women who exercise.

• Self-compassion led people to acknowledge their role in negative events without feeling overwhelmed by negative emotions.

• Self-compassion lowered depressive symptoms in college students from Japan and the USA.

• Self-compassion meditation training reduced body shame and increased body appreciation in women.

• Self-compassion negatively correlated with depression and anxiety in Iranian Muslims.

• Self-compassion negatively predicted emotion regulation difficulties and stress symptoms among Australian psychologists.

• Self-compassion negatively predicted emotional eating among university undergraduates.

• Self-compassion positively explained weight loss in university students.

• Self-compassion predicted fewer body concerns among female undergraduates.

• Self-compassion predicted low depression and high life satisfaction in college students in Hong Kong.

• Self-compassion predicted mood improvements in patients who wrote about a negative event.

• Self-compassion predicted more stable feelings of self-worth than self-esteem, while self-esteem was positively associated with narcissism.

• Self-compassion predicted variation in overall psychological health among trauma-exposed university students.

• Self-compassion predicted well-being in women experiencing hot flushes.

• Self-compassion protected against posttraumatic stress, panic, and depression symptoms in adolescents exposed to a traumatic stressful event.

• Self-compassion reduced eating disorder pathology in individuals with binge eating disorder.

• Self-compassion reduced self-stigma in overweight and obese individuals.

• Self-compassion was a major factor in the relationship between mindfulness and happiness in non-meditators.

• Self-compassion was a negative predictor of salivary alpha-amylase activity in young adults.

• Self-compassion was a significant predictor of gay men’s satisfaction with life.

• Self-compassion was an important component in well-being in a study of college students.

• Self-compassion was associated with emotional well-being in adolescents.

• Self-compassion was associated with greater resilience in young healthcare professionals.

• Self-compassion was associated with greater subjective well-being in older adults who had poorer physical health.

• Self-compassion was associated with mental health among Japanese people.

• Self-compassion was associated with positive changes in life satisfaction in university freshmen.

• Self-compassion was associated with positive mental health outcomes in Korean women.

• Self-compassion was associated with psychological and physical well-being among college students.

• Self-compassion was correlated with meditation experience and psychological wellbeing in meditators.

• Self-compassion was inversely related to anxiety in people with HIV.

• Self-compassion was linked to empathy and altruism among community adults and meditators.

• Self-compassion was negatively associated with aggression and narcissism in adolescents attending a residential treatment program.

• Self-compassion was negatively associated with binge eating symptoms in a predominantly female sample of undergraduate students.

• Self-compassion was negatively associated with external shame, general psychopathology, and eating disorder symptomatology in women.

• Self-compassion was negatively associated with hopelessness depression in students in China.

• Self-compassion was negatively associated with PTSD symptom severity and functional disability among war veterans.

• Self-compassion was negatively associated with PTSD symptoms in trauma-exposed people.

• Self-compassion was negatively correlated to shame memories and eating psychopathology in patients with eating disorder diagnoses.

• Self-compassion was negatively correlated with anxiety and worry in patients with generalized anxiety disorder.

• Self-compassion was negatively related to negative affect and catastrophizing thoughts among women athletes.

• Self-compassion was negatively related to posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression symptoms in individuals exposed to potentially traumatic events.

• Self-compassion was negatively related to shame proneness, social physique anxiety, fear of failure, and fear of negative evaluation among young women athletes.

• Self-compassion was positively associated with life satisfaction, hope, and goal reengagement in parents of a child with autism.

• Self-compassion was positively associated with mastery goals and emotion-focused coping strategies among undergraduates.

• Self-compassion was positively associated with meaning in life among adults aged 65 and older.

• Self-compassion was positively associated with resilience and negatively associated with burnout in first-year pediatric residents.

• Self-compassion was positively associated with resilience in medical trainees.

• Self-compassion was positively related to eudaimonic well-being in young women athletes.

• Self-compassion was positively related to positive affect and negatively related to negative affect.

• Self-compassion was related to health-promoting behaviors in a series of experiments.

• Self-compassion was related to lower interference from hot flushes and lower symptoms of depression in women.

• Self-compassion was strongly associated with well-being among adolescents.

• Self-compassionate individuals in a romantic couple displayed more positive relationship behavior.

• Self-help mindfulness-based cognitive therapy enhanced self-compassion in students.

• Self-judgmental individuals displayed more creative originality when placed in a self-compassion condition.

• Self-kindness correlated positively with self-efficacy in Turkish university students.

• Shame-prone students who wrote self-compassionately about an experience of shame later experienced less shame-proneness and fewer depressive symptoms.

• Subscales of self-compassion were negatively associated with anxiety and depression among subjects in Italy.

• Teachers who participated in a mindfulness-based stress reduction course showed increases in self-compassion.

• The Mindful Awareness Practices program increased self-compassion, which then predicted lower perceived stress in adults.

• The Mindful Self-Compassion program increased self-compassion, mindfulness, and wellbeing among adults.

• The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Teens curriculum increased self-compassion scores in Latino middle school students.

• The self-kindness component of self-compassion made volunteers less vulnerable to the impact of irrational beliefs on depression.

• Undergraduate students in a brief mindfulness-based stress reduction program experienced improvements in self-compassion.

• Undergraduates who completed a self-compassionate writing task experienced increases in positive affect.

• University students who experienced trauma but had high levels of self-compassion engaged in fewer avoidance strategies.

• Women in a secure psychiatric setting who completed a group program on living with mental illness showed greater self-compassion.

• Women’s self-compassion was positively associated with the motivation to correct their interpersonal mistakes and also with changes in relationship satisfaction.

• Yoga increased self-compassion in implantable cardioverter defibrillator patients.

References:

A multinational study of self-compassion and human immunodeficiency virus-related anxiety.

A pilot investigation of emotion-focused two-chair dialogue intervention for self-criticism.

A pilot study and randomized controlled trial of the mindful self-compassion program.

A Pilot Study of a Mindfulness Intervention for Adolescents and the Potential Role of Self-Compassion in Reducing Stress.

A wait-list randomized controlled trial of loving-kindness meditation programme for self-criticism.

Abridged mindfulness intervention to support wellness in first-year medical students.

Activating the inner caregiver: The role of support-giving schemas in increasing state self-compassion.

Adolescent self-compassion: Associations with narcissism, self-esteem, aggression, and internalizing symptoms in at-risk males.

An adapted mindfulness-based stress reduction program for elders in a continuing care retirement community: quantitative and qualitative results from a pilot randomized controlled trial.

An examination of self-compassion in relation to positive psychological functioning and personality traits.

An exploration of people’s experiences of compassion-focused therapy for trauma, using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

An Exploratory Study of the Effects of Mind-Body Interventions Targeting Sleep on Salivary Oxytocin Levels in Cancer Survivors.

An outdoor adventure program for young adults with cancer: positive effects on body image and psychosocial functioning.

Applying self-compassion in sport: an intervention with women athletes.

Are improvements in shame and self-compassion early in eating disorders treatment associated with better patient outcomes?

Are Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Associated with Sleep and Resilience in Health Professionals?

Associations among self-compassion, mindful eating, eating disorder symptomatology, and body mass index in college students.

Associations of self-compassion and global self-esteem with positive and negative affect and stress reactivity in daily life: Findings from a smart phone study.

CALM Pregnancy: results of a pilot study of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for perinatal anxiety.

Cognitions as mediators in the relationship between self-compassion and affect.

Community-Based Mindfulness Program for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: Targeting Stress Reduction.

Development and validation of the Japanese version of the Self-Compassion Scale.

Differential Relations Between Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Eating Behavior.

Differentiating the role of three self-compassion components in buffering cognitive-personality vulnerability to depression among Chinese in Hong Kong.

Dimensionality of self-compassion: translation and construct validation of the self-compassion scale in an Italian sample.

Does kindness matter? Self-compassion buffers the negative impact of diabetes-distress on HbA1c.

Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself: Self-Compassion Facilitates Creative Originality Among Self-Judgmental Individuals.

Effects of a Mindfulness Group on Latino Adolescent Students: Examining Levels of Perceived Stress, Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Psychological Symptoms.

Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on psychological distress, well-being, and maternal self-efficacy in breast-feeding mothers: results of a pilot study.

Effects of compassionate thinking on negative emotions.

Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on emotional experience and expression: a randomized controlled trial.

Embodied health: the effects of a mind-body course for medical students.

Embodying compassion: a virtual reality paradigm for overcoming excessive self-criticism.

Emotional Processing, Interaction Process, and Outcome in Clarification-Oriented Psychotherapy for Personality Disorders: A Process-Outcome Analysis.

Evaluating the indirect effect of self-compassion on binge eating severity through cognitive–affective self-regulatory pathways.

Examining risk and resilience factors for depression: The role of self-criticism and self-compassion.

Examining the efficacy of a brief mindfulness-based stress reduction (Brief MBSR) program on psychological health.

Exploring self-compassion and empathy in the context of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).

Exploring self-compassion and eudaimonic well-being in young women athletes.

Exploring self-compassion as a refuge against recalling the body-related shaming of caregiver eating messages on dimensions of objectified body consciousness in college women.

Exploring the link between self-compassion and body image in university women.

Exploring the Relationship between Rumination, Self-compassion, and Mood.

Factors associated with well-being and confidence in providing compassionate care.

Helping the self help others: self-affirmation increases self-compassion and pro-social behaviors.

How does mindfulness-based cognitive therapy work?

Illness cognitions, cognitive fusion, avoidance and self-compassion as predictors of distress and quality of life in a heterogeneous sample of adults, after cancer.

Individual Differences in Self-Compassion: The Role of Attachment and Experiences of Parenting in Childhood.

Investigating how menopausal factors and self-compassion shape well-being: An exploratory path analysis.

Investigating The Relationship Between Flourishing And Self-Compassion: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach.

Investigation of the Relation Between PTSD Symptoms and Self-Compassion: Comparison Across DSM IV and DSM 5 PTSD Symptom Clusters.

Living with Mental Illness: A Cognitive Behavioural Group Psycho-education Programme with Women in Secure Settings.

Loving-kindness meditation for posttraumatic stress disorder: a pilot study.

Meditation and happiness: Mindfulness and self-compassion may mediate the meditation–happiness relationship.

Meeting Suffering With Kindness: Effects of a Brief Self-Compassion Intervention for Female College Students.

Men’s self-compassion and self-esteem: The moderating roles of shame and masculine norm adherence.

Mindful pregnancy and childbirth: effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on women’s psychological distress and well-being in the perinatal period.

Mindfulness and self-compassion as predictors of psychological wellbeing in long-term meditators and matched nonmeditators.

Mindfulness and Self-Compassion in Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Examining Predictors of Disability.

Mindfulness and Self-Compassion: Exploring Pathways to Adolescent Emotional Well-Being.

Mindfulness for teachers: A pilot study to assess effects on stress, burnout and teaching efficacy.

Mindfulness training effects for parents and educators of children with special needs.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for patients with medically unexplained symptoms: process of change.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for adults with intellectual disabilities: an evaluation of the effectiveness of mindfulness in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for people with chronic fatigue syndrome still experiencing excessive fatigue after cognitive behaviour therapy: a pilot randomized study.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction and self-compassion among mental healthcare professionals: a pilot study.

Mindfulness, self-compassion, and happiness in non-meditators: A theoretical and empirical examination.

Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms, and Functional Disability in U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans.

Moderating the negative relationship between impulsivity and weight loss through self-compassion.

Multi-dimensional modulations of α and γ cortical dynamics following mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in Major Depressive Disorder.

My changed body: breast cancer, body image, distress and self-compassion.

Negative Cognitive Style as a Mediator Between Self-Compassion and Hopelessness Depression.

Not hating what you see: Self-compassion may protect against negative mental health variables connected to self-objectification in college women.

Pilot study of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for trainee clinical psychologists.

Procrastination and Stress: Exploring the Role of Self-compassion.

Promoting Self–Compassionate Attitudes Toward Eating Among Restrictive and Guilty Eaters.

Psychosocial and cardiac outcomes of yoga for ICD patients: a randomized clinical control trial.

Recreational 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA) or ‘ecstasy’ and self-focused compassion: Preliminary steps in the development of a therapeutic psychopharmacology of contemplative practices.

Relations Among Self-Compassion, PTSD Symptoms, and Psychological Health in a Trauma-Exposed Sample.

Relationships of Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Meditation Experience With Shame-Proneness.

Rumination and worry as mediators of the relationship between self-compassion and depression and anxiety.

Seeking safety therapy for pathological gambling and PTSD: a pilot outcome study.

Self-compassion and adaptive psychological functioning.

Self-Compassion and Body Dissatisfaction in Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Brief Meditation Intervention.

Self-compassion and Eudaimonic Well-Being During Emotionally Difficult Times in Sport.

Self-compassion and fear of self-compassion interact to predict response to eating disorders treatment: a preliminary investigation.

Self-compassion and forgiveness: The protective approach against rejection sensitivity.

Self-compassion and life satisfaction in gay men.

Self-compassion and psychological resilience among adolescents and young adults.

Self-compassion and PTSD symptom severity.

Self-compassion and reactions to unpleasant self-relevant events: the implications of treating oneself kindly.

Self-compassion and relationship maintenance: the moderating roles of conscientiousness and gender.

Self-Compassion and Risk Behavior Among People Living With HIV/AIDS.

Self-Compassion and Well-being among Older Adults.

Self-Compassion and Well-Being in Parents of Children with Autism.

Self-compassion and women athletes’ responses to emotionally difficult sport situations: An evaluation of a brief induction.

Self-compassion as a Buffer against Homesickness, Depression, and Dissatisfaction in the Transition to College.

Self-compassion as a moderator of thinness-related pressures’ associations with thin-ideal internalization and disordered eating.

Self-compassion as a predictor of interleukin-6 response to acute psychosocial stress.

Self-compassion as a predictor of social safeness in Turkish university students.

Self-Compassion as a Prospective Predictor of PTSD Symptom Severity Among Trauma-Exposed U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans.

Self-Compassion as a Resource in the Self-Stigma Process of Overweight and Obese Individuals.

Self-compassion as an emotion regulation strategy in major depressive disorder.

Self-compassion in depression: associations with depressive symptoms, rumination, and avoidance in depressed outpatients.

Self-Compassion in Iranian Muslims: Relationships With Integrative Self-Knowledge, Mental Health, and Religious Orientation.

Self-Compassion in Recovery Following Potentially Traumatic Stress: Longitudinal Study of At-Risk Youth.

Self-compassion in the face of shame and body image dissatisfaction: Implications for eating disorders.

Self-Compassion Increases Self-Improvement Motivation.

Self-compassion is a better predictor than mindfulness of symptom severity and quality of life in mixed anxiety and depression.

Self-compassion moderates body comparison and appearance self-worth’s inverse relationships with body appreciation.

Self-compassion protects against the negative effects of low self-esteem: A longitudinal study in a large adolescent sample.

Self-Compassion Soothes the Savage EGO-Threat System: Effects on Negative Affect, Shame, Rumination, and Depressive Symptoms.

Self-compassion training for binge eating disorder: A pilot randomized controlled trial.

Self-compassion training modulates alpha-amylase, heart rate variability, and subjective responses to social evaluative threat in women.

Self-compassion versus global self-esteem: two different ways of relating to oneself.

Self-compassion weakens the association between hot flushes and night sweats and daily life functioning and depression.

Self-compassion, a better alternative to rumination than distraction as a response to negative mood.

Self-compassion, Achievement Goals, and Coping with Academic Failure.

Self-compassion, Body Image, and Self-reported Disordered Eating.

Self-Compassion, Emotion Regulation and Stress among Australian Psychologists: Testing an Emotion Regulation Model of Self-Compassion Using Structural Equation Modeling.

Self-compassion, Interpersonal Conflict Resolutions, and Well-being.

Self-compassion, relationship harmony, versus self-enhancement: Different ways of relating to well-being in Hong Kong Chinese.

Self-Compassion: A Buffer in the Pathway from Maladaptive Beliefs to Depression. an Exploratory Study.

Self-Compassion: A Novel Link With Symptoms in Schizophrenia?

Self-compassion: a potential resource for young women athletes.

Self-Compassion: A Resource for Positive Aging.

Self-compassionate reactions to health threats.

Self-compassionate young adults show lower salivary alpha-amylase responses to repeated psychosocial stress.

Self-kindness when facing stress: The role of self-compassion, goal regulation, and support in college students’ well-being.

Shame Memories and Eating Psychopathology: The Buffering Effect of Self-Compassion.

The Development and Validation of a Scale to Measure Self-Compassion.

The Effect of Self-Compassion on the Development of Depression Symptoms in a Non-clinical Sample.

The effectiveness of self-help mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in a student sample: a randomised controlled trial.

The effects of self-construals, self-criticism, and self-compassion on depressive symptoms.

The feasibility and effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for mixed diagnosis patients in primary care: a pilot study.

The indirect effect of social support on post-trauma psychopathology via self-compassion.

The influence of self-compassion on emotional well-being among early and older adolescent males and females.

The Protective Role of Self-compassion in Relation to Psychopathology Symptoms and Quality of Life in Chronic and in Cancer Patients.

The Relationship between Self-compassion and Other-focused Concern among College Undergraduates, Community Adults, and Practicing Meditators.

The relationship between self-compassion, self-efficacy, and control belief about learning in Turkish university students.

The Role of Negative Cognition, Intolerance of Uncertainty, Mindfulness, and Self-Compassion in Weight Regulation Among Male Army Recruits.

The Role of Self-Compassion in Buffering Symptoms of Depression in the General Population.

The Role of Self-Compassion in Goal Pursuit and Well-Being Among University Freshmen.

The Role of Self-Compassion in Physical and Psychological Well-Being.

The Role of Self-compassion in Romantic Relationships.

The Role of Self-compassion in Women’s Self-determined Motives to Exercise and Exercise-related Outcomes.

The Validation Study of the Korean Version of Self-Compassion Scale with Adult Women in Community.

Understanding the roles of self-esteem, self-compassion, and fear of self-compassion in eating disorder pathology: An examination of female students and eating disorder patients.

Use of a brief version of the self-compassion inventory with an international sample of people with HIV/AIDS.

Using acceptance and commitment therapy to increase self-compassion: A randomized controlled trial.

What factors promote resilience and protect against burnout in first-year pediatric and medicine-pediatric residents?

When leaving your ex, love yourself: observational ratings of self-compassion predict the course of emotional recovery following marital separation.

Working through past wrongdoing: Examination of a self-forgiveness counseling intervention.

Posted in Uncategorized

How to Find Treatments

When faced with new or recurring illnesses, the most crucial course of action is to go to the doctor or emergency room. Unfortunately, not everybody in the world currently has access to medical professionals. In addition, primary care physicians and specialists deal with many demands on their time and may not be aware of new science-based research. Scientific journals publish hundreds of thousands of new medical studies each year. Individual physicians don’t have time to read and comprehend that volume of new medical literature. Artificial intelligence systems like IBM Watson Health are helping some healthcare systems solve this problem.

In the meantime, many patients want to know more about the conditions they live with. People want to know how to treat or even cure diseases that negatively impact their quality of life. They want to learn about new announcements of promising treatments. This post has a plan to find treatments for health problems on the Internet. The first step is triage:

1. Write down your symptoms and prioritize them based on the negative impact on your quality of life.

2. Research the most distressing symptoms first and identify which diseases those symptoms are associated with. It’s even better if a doctor or doctors can give you an official diagnosis.

3. With that information available, you can then research the newest and most effective treatments on the sites below, as well as through PubMed or Google Scholar.

You can check out the big health sites for information on symptoms and conditions:

CDC Index

eMedicineHealth

Everyday Health

Family Practice Notebook

FamilyDoctor.org (includes Search by Symptom)

FreeMD

Healthline SymptomChecker

International Classification of Diseases

Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library

Mayo Clinic Diseases and Conditions

MedlinePlus Encyclopedia

Medscape Diseases and Conditions

Medscape Reference

MedicineNet MedTerms

Merck Manual

New York Presbyterian Health Library

NHS Conditions

• Patient

PDRHealth

Right Diagnosis

Symptomfind

UMMS Medical Encyclopedia

WebMD Health A to Z

If you have already been diagnosed by a doctor and are looking for additional or new methods to treat a certain condition, here are some good sources that you can search for news about recently introduced treatments or therapies:

EurekAlert

Medical Daily

Medical News Today

Medical Xpress

MedPage Today

Newswise Medical News

PsychCentral News

• ScienceDaily

There are also repositories of guidelines for treating a number of conditions:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

• Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

• National Guideline Clearinghouse

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

The NNT

Some of the major resources for finding information on hospitals include:

• The U.S. News Best Hospitals list has information on hospital quality and ratings.

Why Not the Best also has information on hospital performance.

If you need to enter a clinical trial, these are some sites with more information:

ClinicalTrials.gov lists over 200,000 studies for various medical conditions.

Current Controlled Trials is another site that lists clinical trials.

• International Clinical Trials Registry Platform includes information about global clinical trials.

If you still haven’t found the treatments you are looking for, you can search PubMed, which indexes the articles published in thousands of medical journals. Sometimes full text articles are available for free, but often the abstract alone is informative enough. You can then use PubMed’s Limits feature to limit the search based on various criteria, such as only displaying studies conducted in humans.

Many people are currently using at least one prescription medication and this number is likely to increase as older people make up a larger share of the population in countries like the USA and China. With billions of people who occasionally or frequently experience various medical conditions worldwide, it’s important to find accurate information on medications. This is a list of resources for finding information on prescription drugs.

DailyMed: a database of information about pharmaceuticals

DrugLib: a portal with information on prescription drugs

Drugs.com: a directory of information on prescription drugs

eHealthMe: a database of patient information regarding medications

eMedicineHealth Medications: a database that has prescription information

FDA MedWatch: a database of safety information on certain medications

RxList: an index of prescription drug information

WorstPills: a database of medication safety information

Here’s an example of listings for a specific medication. These entries are for ziprasidone, an atypical antipsychotic medication. You can search for a medication by its trade name, though I prefer to search for its generic name in search engines to get a wider variety of scientific results. This set of links also includes results from specialized pharmacology and medicinal chemistry databases.

ChemBlink: Ziprasidone

ChemSpider: Ziprasidone

ClinicalTrials: Ziprasidone

Cochrane Summaries: Ziprasidone

CureHunter: Ziprasidone

DailyMed: Ziprasidone

DrugBank: Ziprasidone

DrugLib: Ziprasidone

Drugs.com: Ziprasidone

EMBL-EBI: Ziprasidone

eMedicineHealth: Ziprasidone

Family Practice Notebook: Ziprasidone

Google Patents: Ziprasidone

Guide to Pharmacology: Ziprasidone

Healthwise: Ziprasidone

KEGG: Ziprasidone

Mayo Clinic: Ziprasidone

MedicineNet: Ziprasidone

MedlinePlus: Ziprasidone

Merck Manual: Ziprasidone

PubChem: Ziprasidone

PubMed Health: Ziprasidone

RxList: Ziprasidone

Therapeutic Targets Database: Ziprasidone

ToxWiki: Ziprasidone

WebMD: Ziprasidone

WorstPills: Ziprasidone

ZINC: Ziprasidone

And you can also go to PubMed to find research studies that mention a certain drug in the title or abstract, such as:

ziprasidone[title]

ziprasidone[title/abstract]

PubMed offers ways to find information on medical conditions in general. You can do this in two major ways:

1. Searching for the name of a certain disease or condition using search terms, such as “obsessive compulsive disorder”

2. Using search terms based on medical subject headings, such as “obsessive compulsive disorder”[mh]

The first technique is fairly self-explanatory.

In the second technique, the [mh] term technique tells PubMed to search for papers and studies that are indexed with Medical Subject Headings. You can find medical subject headings to add to your search at this page: MeSH

Here’s an example:

1. Go to the MeSH page

2. Search for a condition, like obsessive compulsive disorder

3. Click the “Add to search builder” button on the top right of the page

4. Click the “Search PubMed” button

The checkboxes on the page let you narrow the search down to studies that focus on diet therapy, drug therapy, genetics, prevention, therapy, and more topics relating to the certain medical condition. If there is more than one result when you search for a condition, such as this search for depression, you can select checkboxes for multiple results and then click on the “Add to search builder” button to add multiple subject headings to your search.

Here are some examples of all of the papers indexed under certain medical conditions. Some of the search results are incredibly extensive, but they can be narrowed down using the filters on the left part of the page. You can also narrow down searches by using the checkboxes on the initial MeSH search results page, as seen in the second step of the steps above. This would look like: “obsessive-compulsive disorder/genetics”[Mesh]

Here are some examples of finding papers using MeSH terms:

1. “acquired immunodeficiency syndrome”[mh]

2. alcoholism[mh]

3. “alzheimer disease”[mh] OR dementia[mh]

3. “attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity”[mh]

4. “autistic disorder”[mh]

5. “bipolar disorder”[mh]

6. “brain neoplasms”[mh]

7. “diabetes mellitus, type 2″[mh]

8. “fasciitis, necrotizing”[mh]

9. “fatigue syndrome, chronic”[mh]

10. hypothyroidism[mh]

11. “meningitis, bacterial”[mh] OR “meningitis, meningococcal”[mh]

12. myopia[mh]

13. “neurotoxicity syndromes”[mh]

14. obesity[mh]

15. sepsis[mh]

16. “sleep initiation and maintenance disorders”[mh]

17. “somatoform disorders”[mh]

18. “spinal cord injuries”[mh]

19. “temporomandibular joint disorders”[mh]

20. “wasting syndrome”[mh]

You can also find information specific to oncology and cancer treatment on PubMed. This is a guide to finding studies on cancer treatments for the cancers that kill the most people each year. The following searches list many results in the field of cancer research. The antineoplastic agents search also finds a huge number of studies on pharmaceuticals and natural products that have antitumor properties.

Comprehensive Lists of Studies:

Lung Cancer: “lung neoplasms”[mh]

Colon Cancer: “colonic neoplasms”[mh]

Breast Cancer: “breast neoplasms”[mh]

Pancreatic Cancer: “pancreatic neoplasms”[mh]

Prostate Cancer: “prostatic neoplasms”[mh]

Leukemia: leukemia[mh]

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: “lymphoma, non-hodgkin”[mh]

Liver Cancer: “liver neoplasms”[mh]

Ovarian Cancer: “ovarian neoplasms”[mh]

Esophageal Cancer: “esophageal neoplasms”[mh]

Information on Prevention and Treatment Only:

Lung Cancer:

( “Lung Neoplasms/diet therapy”[Mesh] OR “Lung Neoplasms/drug effects”[Mesh] OR “Lung Neoplasms/drug therapy”[Mesh] OR “Lung Neoplasms/prevention and control”[Mesh] OR “Lung Neoplasms/surgery”[Mesh] OR “Lung Neoplasms/therapy”[Mesh] )

Colon Cancer:

( “Colonic Neoplasms/diet therapy”[Mesh] OR “Colonic Neoplasms/drug therapy”[Mesh] OR “Colonic Neoplasms/prevention and control”[Mesh] OR “Colonic Neoplasms/surgery”[Mesh] OR “Colonic Neoplasms/therapy”[Mesh] )

Breast Cancer:

( “Breast Neoplasms/diet therapy”[Mesh] OR “Breast Neoplasms/drug therapy”[Mesh] OR “Breast Neoplasms/prevention and control”[Mesh] OR “Breast Neoplasms/surgery”[Mesh] OR “Breast Neoplasms/therapy”[Mesh] )

Pancreatic Cancer:

( “Pancreatic Neoplasms/diet therapy”[Mesh] OR “Pancreatic Neoplasms/drug effects”[Mesh] OR “Pancreatic Neoplasms/drug therapy”[Mesh] OR “Pancreatic Neoplasms/prevention and control”[Mesh] OR “Pancreatic Neoplasms/surgery”[Mesh] OR “Pancreatic Neoplasms/therapy”[Mesh] )

Prostate Cancer:

( “Prostatic Neoplasms/diet therapy”[Mesh] OR “Prostatic Neoplasms/drug therapy”[Mesh] OR “Prostatic Neoplasms/prevention and control”[Mesh] OR “Prostatic Neoplasms/surgery”[Mesh] OR “Prostatic Neoplasms/therapy”[Mesh] )

Leukemia:

( “Leukemia/diet therapy”[Mesh] OR “Leukemia/drug effects”[Mesh] OR “Leukemia/drug therapy”[Mesh] OR “Leukemia/prevention and control”[Mesh] OR “Leukemia/surgery”[Mesh] OR “Leukemia/therapy”[Mesh] )

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma:

( “Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin/diet therapy”[Mesh] OR “Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin/drug therapy”[Mesh] OR “Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin/prevention and control”[Mesh] OR “Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin/surgery”[Mesh] OR “Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin/therapy”[Mesh] )

Liver Cancer:

( “Liver Neoplasms/diet therapy”[Mesh] OR “Liver Neoplasms/drug effects”[Mesh] OR “Liver Neoplasms/drug therapy”[Mesh] OR “Liver Neoplasms/prevention and control”[Mesh] OR “Liver Neoplasms/surgery”[Mesh] OR “Liver Neoplasms/therapy”[Mesh] )

Ovarian Cancer:

( “Ovarian Neoplasms/diet therapy”[Mesh] OR “Ovarian Neoplasms/drug therapy”[Mesh] OR “Ovarian Neoplasms/prevention and control”[Mesh] OR “Ovarian Neoplasms/surgery”[Mesh] OR “Ovarian Neoplasms/therapy”[Mesh] )

Esophageal Cancer:

( “Esophageal Neoplasms/diet therapy”[Mesh] OR “Esophageal Neoplasms/drug therapy”[Mesh] OR “Esophageal Neoplasms/prevention and control”[Mesh] OR “Esophageal Neoplasms/surgery”[Mesh] OR “Esophageal Neoplasms/therapy”[Mesh] )

One of the most important aspects of science is the predictive power of the field. Understanding the laws of the nature well enough to predict events is both amazing and useful. The following search query is one way of finding medical papers on PubMed that discuss methods of predicting various health events. This is important for preventive healthcare.

prediction[title] OR predictions[title] OR predict[title] OR predicts[title] OR predicting[title] OR predictive[title] OR predictor[title] OR predictors[title]

 

Posted in Uncategorized

The End of Human Software Testing

I’ve worked as a software tester for a decade and am burned out. I can’t handle the pressure to be perfect in this line of work – the pressure to not let any mistake make it through the testing process where it could possibly get discovered by customers. I’m ready to be made obsolete by automation and artificial intelligence. The future of software testing belongs to a few elite developers who create testing algorithms and train machine learning models that can be applied to a wide variety of different software applications. This small group of programmers can replace the hundreds of thousands of people who work in software testing and software quality jobs.

The International Software Testing Qualifications Board has issued around 400,000 certifications worldwide, and this doesn’t include the many non-certified software testers currently employed. Companies can save vast amounts of money by replacing these armies of testers with small numbers of consultants and contractors who apply machine learning techniques to software testing. Developers are almost always better and more useful people than testers. Anything a tester can do, a developer can do better. Most offshore testers and “QA engineers” graduate from lower tier universities. Many American testers have no college degree or they have worthless humanities degrees (like me!)

How could I ever hope to compete with the workers who have computer science degrees and freedom from anxiety disorders who spend time slumming in QA while they search for better jobs? How can I compete with immigrants or offshore workers who studied computer science or software testing since childhood as a means of escaping poverty in their home countries? H-1B and offshore workers are more robotic and emotionally resilient than me so there’s no way I can compete with them. International students set high expectations that engineering professors then apply to all students, since international students come from places that have better education systems and mathematics instruction than the USA does.

While fewer visas are granted to QA workers than are granted to programmers, data from sites like MyVisaJobs or JobsInTech Visa Explorer show visas granted to the many international QA workers currently in the USA. Salar.ly allows people to find information on the salaries of foreign workers in the USA. Giant outsourcing companies exploit the visa system to bring in interchangeable low-paid workers instead of the truly irreplaceable geniuses the system was originally designed to bring to the United States. Corporate messages about a shortage of engineers and technology workers may just be a myth. Even in the lowest job-cutting year since 1997, employers in the computer industry announced a total of nearly 60,000 planned layoffs. Universities may still be producing more computing and engineering grads than the labor market can accomodate. The National Science board and CEPR found that many STEM graduates – even engineers and computer scientists – ended up working in other fields or in jobs that don’t require their training.

I don’t have anything against offshore workers or people in the USA on visas. I just think of the software testing labor market as a flawed system, similar to a flawed software architecture. Even offshore and visa workers aren’t immune from automation and they’ll also lose their jobs if the future testing strategy I outline in this post comes to fruition. There’s no way that even the best software testers can compete with machine learning and other forms of artificial intelligence applied to testing. In many QA situations, less skilled workers are forced into the uncomfortable position of highlighting the mistakes of developers and managers with greater experience and social status. Even socially and technically skilled testers are still vulnerable to automation.

The genetic algorithms and machine learning techniques referenced in this post are just the beginning. After top artificial intelligence developers use machine learning and neural networks to make billions of dollars automating other industries and putting people out of work, they’ll eliminate software testing jobs. Applying machine learning to test software will seem trivially easy compared to other problems. Then the top one percent of developers will put other developers out of work through self-modifying software. Most management tasks can also be automated, putting managers out of work as machine learning programs adjust project planning in realtime and conduct rapid negotiations among companies similar to high frequency trading systems.

I’ve been a software test technician for ten years. Rather than having ten years of experience, it’s more like one year of experience repeated ten times as I constantly shifted around to different projects and didn’t experience much career advancement. None of this software did anything meaningful for customers in the big picture. Heart disease and cancer continue to kill millions of people around the world. Testing software for screen sharing, help desk systems, computer networking, set top boxes, and mobile entertainment like I did can’t solve those problems. People who believe in unscientific concepts like free will and personal responsibility will say I should have taken more responsibility for my career. That’s difficult to do when constantly dealing with anxiety disorders and impostor syndrome and feeling like a frightened animal around other people.

Many QA environments adopted the cubicles or open office layouts pioneered by software engineering departments. Giving a private office to a mere tester is now almost unthinkable. Software developer Michael Church, who worked at Google and at quant funds, wrote an excellent post about how working in open offices negatively impacts anxious people. He also discussed this in a Quora answer coining the term Open-Plan Syndrome. Many offices also have artificial lighting, which puts additional stress on people who experience panic attacks (Photosensitivity in panic disorder). Technology companies often have offices with inadequate ventilation, which leads to increased carbon dioxide. Increased levels of CO2 can induce panic attacks.

As cubicles and open office environments continue to dominate software organizations, they make those organizations inhospitable to people unlucky enough to suffer from anxiety disorders. Nearly all software engineers are more mentally and emotionally resilient than me, and even they have a difficult time dealing with cubes and open floor plans. Developer and startup founder Rick Smith wrote a great post about how offices with open floor plans distract software developers and disrupt the flow state necessary for effective programming. Former Twitter engineer Nathan Marz describes why open floor plans decrease productivity in ways that wipe out any cost savings from moving to a less expensive office layout. Developer Matt Blodgett describes the flaws of tech company open floor plans in an excellent series of posts. Engineering VP Daniel Blumenthal highlights why open offices are unscientific. Research shows that the noise and decreased privacy inherent in cubicle layouts and open plan offices negates any benefits from enhanced collaboration. An article on ZDNet highlights that a survey of 10,000 workers found that 85% of people were dissatisfied with their working environment and couldn’t concentrate. Reader responses to an article in Fast Company describe workers’ frustrations with open office environments.

Dr. Maria Konnikova aptly describes many problems with open floor plan offices in her New Yorker post. Open offices lead to decreased productivity and increased illness. Even younger workers, often thought of as naturally collaborative, are also negatively impacted by exposed office environments. I’ve worked in office environments where my back was to an open area whenever I was at my desk. The choice was between wearing headphones and being constantly distracted by wondering if someone was sneaking up on me, or not wearing headphones and being constantly distracted by noise in the environment. The office I worked at was undergoing remodeling during part of this time, which included frequent construction noise. No wonder I developed more frequent panic attacks and started taking addictive anti-anxiety medication!

Machine learning frameworks and algorithms will make all of this moot by putting testers and QA engineers out of a job. Specialized testing programs can perform actions drawn from a database of methods that have identified bugs in similar types of applications. Computer vision can explore and validate user interfaces. Genetic algorithms and machine learning can evolve to discover weak points in applications. Self-learning programs could eventually check for flaws in software in more creative ways. Mutations in genetic algorithms can be used in generating and performing tests. GUI ripping and crawling analyzes and interacts with user interfaces to trigger and identify bugs. Automated regression testing re-tests components that previously passed tests. Bayesian software defect prediction models can identify defects. Search-based software testing uses search algorithms to generate test cases. Grammatical evolution is a type of genetic programming that uses fitness functions and can be used to outperform random testing. Algorithms that generate tests provide better test coverage. Fuzzy logic systems and fuzzing can identify software faults, including security faults. All of these systems can integrate automated traceability and test logging. Code analysis techniques can identify software defects before integration testing even starts.

Imagine putting all of these techniques together. Once the testers are gone, self-healing programs can repair bugs without developer input. Software from MIT can fix code much faster than human programmers. Another system from MIT can repair vulnerable applications without even needing to access the source code. A notable report from two years ago proposed that nearly half of all jobs in the USA are vulnerable to automation. First they came for the jobs of workers demanding a higher minimum wage. Then they came for the jobs of high-paid professionals in finance and law and healthcare. Then they came for the software testers and managers. Finally the automators will eliminate jobs in software development.

The following papers discuss new forms of automated software testing and these papers are readily available through Google Scholar:

A Combined Technique of GUI Ripping and Input Perturbation Testing for Android Apps.

A Comparative Study of Different Strategies for Predicting Software Quality.

A Factorial Experiment on Scalability of Search Based Software Testing.

A Framework for Automated and Composable Testing of Component-based Services.

A Framework for Automated Testing of JavaScript Web Applications.

A Fuzzy Based Fault Analysis Approach to Analyze Software Quality.

A GUI Crawling-based technique for Android Mobile Application Testing.

A GUI Modeling DSL for Pattern-Based GUI Testing PARADIGM.

A Little Language for Rapidly Constructing Automated Performance Tests.

A Method for Automated Testing of Software Interface.

A Model-Based Fuzzing Approach for DBMS.

A Model for GUI Automated Testing Framework in Software System.

A Model Independent S/W Framework for Search-Based Software Testing.

A multiple-population genetic algorithm for branch coverage test data generation.

A New Fuzzing Method Using Multi Data Samples Combination.

A New Fuzzing Technique for Software Vulnerability Mining Using Multi-dimension Inputs.

A Parallel Evolutionary Algorithm for Prioritized Pairwise Testing of Software Product Lines.

A Pattern-Based Approach for GUI Modeling and Testing.

A Smart Fuzzing Approach for Integer Overflow Detection.

A Software Quality Predictive Model.

A Survey on Software Testing Techniques using Genetic Algorithm.

A Test Automation Language Framework for Behavioral Models.

A Whitebox Approach for Automated Security Testing of Android Applications on the Cloud.

Achievements, open problems and challenges for search based software testing.

Adaptive Automation: Leveraging Machine Learning to Support Uninterrupted Automated Testing of Software Applications.

An All-in-One Toolkit for Automated White-Box Testing.

An ant colony optimization algorithm to improve software quality prediction models: Case of class stability.

An Approach to Automatic Input Sequence Generation for GUI Testing using Ant Colony Optimization.

An Automated Approach for Fault Injection Testing of BPEL Orchestrations.

An automated approach to reducing test suites for testing retargeted C compilers for embedded systems.

An automated passive testing approach of real-time systems: Application to Web Services.

An Image Comparing-based GUI Software Testing Automation System.

Analysis of Embedded Applications By Evolutionary Fuzzing.

Analysis of Mutation Testing Tools in Aspect Oriented Software Engineering.

Application of Genetic Algorithm and Particle Swarm Optimization in Software Testing.

Applying Computational Intelligence in Software Testing.

AUSTIN: An open source tool for search based software testing of C programs.

Automated Concolic Testing of Smartphone Apps.

Automated Cross-Browser Compatibility Testing.

Automated Firmware Testing using Firmware-Hardware Interaction Patterns.

Automated Functional Testing based on the Navigation of Web Applications.

Automated functional testing of online search services.

Automated Generation of Visual Web Tests from DOM-based Web Tests.

Automated GUI Testing Framework in PRIDE.

Automated Instrument Cluster Testing Using Image Processing.

Automated Java GUI Modeling for Model-Based Testing Purposes.

Automated Metamorphic Testing on the Analyses of Feature Models.

Automated Scalability Testing of Software as a Service.

Automated Software Testing of Memory Performance in Embedded GPUs.

Automated Software Testing Using Metahurestic Technique Based on Improved Ant Algorithms for Software Testing.

Automated System Testing Using Dynamic and Resource Restricted Clients.

Automated test data generation for branch testing using genetic algorithm: An improved approach using branch ordering, memory and elitism.

Automated Testing for Intelligent Agent Systems.

Automated Testing for SQL Injection Vulnerabilities: An Input Mutation Approach.

Automated Testing of API Mapping Relations.

Automated Testing of Cloud-Based Elastic Systems with AUToCLES.

Automated Testing of Embedded Automotive Systems from Requirement Specification Models.

Automated Testing with Targeted Event Sequence Generation.

Automated Verification of Load Tests Using Control Charts.

Automated Web Application Testing Using Search Based Software Engineering.

Automated Web Testing based on Textual-Visual UI Patterns: the UTF Approach.

Automatic testing of GUI-based applications.

Automation of Test Case Generation and Execution for Testing Web Service Orchestrations.

Black-box Test Data Generation for GUI Testing.

BlackHorse: Creating Smart Test Cases from Brittle Recorded Tests.

Caiipa: Automated Large-scale Mobile App Testing through Contextual Fuzzing.

Context Virtualizer: A Cloud Service for Automated Large-scale Mobile App Testing under Real-World Conditions.

Current challenges in automatic software repair.

Detection and Root Cause Analysis of Memory-Related Software Aging Defects by Automated Tests.

Developing a Strategy for Automated Privacy Testing Suites.

Dynamic Reverse Engineering of GUI Models for Testing.

Dynamic White-Box Software Testing using a Recursive Hybrid Evolutionary Strategy/Genetic Algorithm.

Enhanced Software Quality Metrics for Fault Prediction in Object Oriented Components using SVM Classifier.

Evolutionary Testing of Autonomous Software Agents.

EXSYST: Search-Based GUI Testing.

Extension of Selenium RC Tool to Perform Automated Testing with Databases in Web Applications.

Fault Prediction Using Statistical and Machine Learning Methods for Improving Software Quality.

Feasibility of Mutable Replay for Automated Regression Testing of Security Updates.

Fully Automated GUI Testing and Coverage Analysis Using Genetic Algorithms.

Functional Validation and Test Automation for Android Apps.

Generic Approach for Security Error Detection Based on Learned System Behavior Models for Automated Security Tests.

Genetic Algorithm Technique In Program Path Coverage For Improving Software Testing.

Grey-box GUI Testing: Efficient Generation of Event Sequences.

GUI Interaction Testing: Incorporating Event Context.

Guided GUI Testing of Android Apps with Minimal Restart and Approximate Learning.

GUITest: A Java Library for Fully Automated GUI Robustness Testing.

Improved Ant Algorithms for Software Testing Cases Generation.

Improving Testing of Complex Software Models through Evolutionary Test Generation.

Integrating Evolutionary Testing with Reinforcement Learning for Automated Test Generation of Object-Oriented Software.

JAutomate: a Tool for System- and Acceptance-test Automation.

KameleonFuzz: Evolutionary Fuzzing for Black-Box XSS Detection.

Leveraging Existing Tests in Automated Test Generation for Web Applications.

Lightweight Static Analysis for GUI Testing.

Linking software testing results with a machine learning approach.

Machine Learning and Event-Based Software Testing: Classi􏰀ers for Identifying Infeasible GUI Event Sequences.

Machine Learning and Software Quality Prediction: As an Expert System.

Machine Learning-based Software Quality Prediction Models: State of the Art.

Making Automated Testing of Cloud Applications an Integral Component of PaaS.

MobiGUITAR – A Tool for Automated Model-Based Testing of Mobile Apps.

Model-based Test Oracle Generation for Automated Unit Testing of Agent Systems.

Model-Based Testing with a General Purpose Keyword-Driven Test Automation Framework.

Multi-objective Genetic Optimization for Noise-based Testing of Concurrent Software.

Murphy Tools: Utilizing Extracted GUI Models for Industrial Software Testing.

Optimization of Software Testing for Discrete Testsuite using Genetic Algorithm and Sampling Technique.

Parallel Symbolic Execution for Automated Real-World Software Testing.

PVDF: An Automatic Patch-Based Vulnerability Description and Fuzzing Method.

Random Visual GUI Testing: Proof of Concept.

Scaling Up Automated Test Generation: Automatically Generating Maintainable Regression Unit Tests for Programs.

Search-Based Automated Testing of Continuous Controllers: Framework, Tool Support, and Case Studies.

Search-Based Propagation of Regression Faults in Automated Regression Testing.

Semantics-based Automated Web Testing.

Soft Computing Based Approaches for Software Testing: A Survey.

Software Defect Prediction Models for Quality Improvement: A Literature Study.

Software quality assessment using a multi-strategy classifier.

Software Quality Control Based on Genetic Algorithm.

Software Test Automation using DEVSimPy Environment.

Sound Empirical Evidence in Software Testing.

SSOScan: Automated Testing of Web Applications for Single Sign-On Vulnerabilities.

Techniques for Automated Testing of Lola Industrial Robot Language Parser.

Testdroid: automated remote UI testing on Android.

The Seed is Strong: Seeding Strategies in Search-Based Software Testing.

Using Dynamic Symbolic Execution to Generate Inputs in Search-Based GUI Testing.

Using Genetic Algorithm for Automated Efficient Software Test Case Generation for Path Testing.

Using GUI Ripping for Automated Testing of Android Applications.

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Prediction and the Fear of Death

Predicting the future could be the most important pursuit available to a person. A single mistake can lead to a ruined reputation, serious injuries, or even death. The pain of dying is bad enough, but most people have a misplaced attitude of acceptance or resignation towards death. This often comes from what biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey calls the pro-aging trance. Most people accept that death comes eventually from illness or aging or accidents and resign themselves towards their fate. They use religion or distraction to deal with their existential anxiety regarding death. There’s a big problem with this approach.

Religious people and atheists claim to know for sure what happens after death. Religious groups maintain that either a person ends up in an afterlife (almost always a positive one) or reincarnated. Atheists think human consciousness just disappears after the brain irreversibly degrades. Each side finds evidence to support their viewpoint, but no one can say with 100% certainty what happens after death. That leaves it open for anxious people like me to interpret death as a worst-case scenario. What if there’s a tiny chance that the universe is not just uncaring but infinitely cruel? What if whatever happens to human consciousness after death is even worse than the worst fate anyone can imagine? What if trickster gods or extraterrestrials extract human consciousness at the point of death to torture it forever? I guess you could call this the Hellraiser Hypothesis, derived from the series of movies featuring extradimensional beings devoted to pain. This may be a remote possibility, but absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Life is terrifying because a single mistake can lead to lifelong disability or even death. If there is an infinite number of universes as postulated by the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, some of those universes may have godlike entities. In some of those universes with godlike entities, some of those entities may be sadistic and evil. In some of those universes with omnipotent sadistic entities, they may extract human consciousness at the point of death to torture it forever. Some people have faith that the afterlife will be good, but what if their faith is just a false sense of security implanted in their mind by malicious entities? Even a tiny possibility that gods or powerful extraterrestrials could extract human consciousness at the point of death and torture it for all eternity makes it imperative to prevent all potential causes of death. What is the worst thing you can imagine? What if something even worse than humans can imagine happens to human consciousness after death?

This is why it’s so important to identify and prevent every potential threat to life. This is a huge goal that can rapidly overwhelm the human brain, and I’ll return to it at the end of this post. One of the many cognitive biases the average human being has is the belief in a just world. This mistaken belief that people deserve whatever happens to them often occurs alongside the fundamental attribution error, where outcomes are viewed as resulting from stable personality traits instead of situational factors. If someone makes a mistake, these cognitive biases lead others to blame the victim and say someone should always anticipate anything that happens to him or her. Identifying areas of economic growth and profit is vastly less important than prolonging healthy human life but still holds the interest of many people.

Predicting the economy and the stock market and their effects on human life represent one of the largest areas of prediction. Most economists and people in finance have had a less than desirable track record in predicting the economy and stock market. This may be improving with quantitative finance techniques drawn from physics and analyzing big data like Google Trends, but these prediction methods still lack precision. When choosing a major, students are expected to predict the state of the global economy four years later. Students can pick petroleum engineering as a major one year when they see newly graduated petroleum engineers have the highest salaries of any graduates. When they earn their degree four (or five) years later then oil companies are cutting back hiring because oil dropped below $40 a barrel. I learned the importance of prediction when I got a worthless humanities degree because I thought nothing I could study would matter in the end anyway. Scrupulosity gave me religious obsessions about judgment and the end of the world. I also thought nearly everyone on earth would be dead before I graduated. If the end of days didn’t happen, I thought humanity would be wiped out by nuclear war or bioterrorism or from any number of causes. Terror management theory suggests that large parts of human psychology are devoted to dealing with the existential threat of death. Most people try not to think too much about death because worrying about death every day like I do can bring a person to the brink of madness.

It’s important to predict the future at individual, local, national, and global levels. The growing fields of predictive analytics and futures studies attempt this. Predicting the future involves quantifying just how much importance to put in history, along with mapping relationships between existing local and global entities that can shape the future. Futurist and engineer Ray Kurzweil has a separate approach. Kurzweil’s strategy is to combine the idea of exponential change with tracking advancements in all fields of science and engineering. He also describes that importance of identifying the optimal point where people become accepting of new inventions. As an inventor, he had to time the adoption of inventions because being too early or too late to market can doom an invention. His report How My Predictions Are Faring takes a look at his earlier predictions and evaluates their accuracy. Kurzweil’s upcoming book The Singularity is Nearer is rumored to describe the progress of the predictions from his earlier book The Singularity is Near. Philip Tetlock, who studies forecasts made by experts, is publishing a book titled Superforecasting about identifying strategies of experts who can actually make accurate predictions.

In my view, using prediction to prevent all causes of death is the most important aspect of predicting the future. This involves predicting and preventing leading causes of mortality, predicting and preventing crimes, and predicting and preventing future epidemics. This involves spotting new trends in pools of data and rapidly responding to them. It also includes using statistical models and quantitative prediction. This involves using mathematical models in public health and crime prevention (Statistical physics of crime: A review). Journals like Technological Forecasting and Social Change publish research on forecasting various areas.

An important aspect of prediction is thinking in probabilistic ways. It’s extremely difficult to predict the future with perfect precision, so most decision analysis involves probability. The problem is that the human brain isn’t very good at calculating probabilities, especially in rapidly changing situations or situations that involve extremely large amounts of information. A computer can calculate probabilities faster and more accurately than humans. IBM’s Watson computer can already understand and extract information from medical research. The next step is a computer like Watson that can read and understand all scientific, engineering, statistical, and mathematical research and make predictions from that research.

Individual people could enhance their decision-making capabilities with heads-up displays like Google Glass. They could combine this with wearing an attachment in a big hat that monitors the environment, similar to the electronics on top of Google’s self-driving cars. Looking like a dweeb is a small price to pay for staying safe. However, I think there’s an alternative that allows people to improve their decisions while staying fashionable and inconspicuous without having to wear massive headgear. Security cameras in the environment integrated into a cloud network could use computer vision and deep learning to identify environmental threats. This system could identify if someone is acting agitated and has folds in their clothes indicating they have a gun. That information could be integrated into a display embedded in fashionable glasses indistinguishable from other sets of glasses. The network could also identify people coughing and warn people to avoid certain areas with diseases, or it could identify anomalous patterns in the environment to help people avoid potential accidents.

I feel guilty every time I eat something that isn’t a medicinal and functional food or which doesn’t enhance longevity. A heads-up display in glasses could use image recognition combined with communication to a medical computer like Watson. This system could integrate information from epidemiological studies and lab animal studies and personal genomics to show the effect any particular food has on long-term health. Each of those individual methods (dietary epidemiology, lab animal studies, personalized medicine) has imperfections by themselves but they might work well when combined together in a predictive framework.

The next stage is brain implants for instantaneous decision enhancement. A neuroprosthesis already improved decision-making in monkeys. Neuroprosthetics also improved memory in non-human primates. Future neural engineering and neuroprosthetics could restore brain function to people with Alzheimer’s disease or traumatic brain injuries. After brain implants prove their value and safety in people with brain diseases, the next step is to allow healthy people to improve their decisions with neuroprosthetics.

I’ve met people who escaped war-torn countries who are much less anxious and fearful than me. I’ve met plenty of women and girls who have much less fear and anxiety than I do. Anxiety is a stereotypically feminine trait, so most males don’t talk about it even though anxiety disorders affect millions of males. Lots of anxious guys cover it up with alcoholism since cultural history and alcohol advertising made binge drinking into a macho pastime. I’ve had wine before but I’ve never had enough alcohol to make me feel any different than normal. I always worried about accidentally drinking too much and thinking I was in a dream and losing control and punching men and groping women and leading police on a high speed chase and then ending up in prison or dead. I never really trusted anyone I was drinking around to keep me out of jail or the gutter. I should probably just learn more about the effects of alcohol on the brain through PubMed, where it’s indexed as ethanol to differentiate it from other alcohols.

The risk of drinking too much is very real but pales in comparison to what forecasters call global catastrophic risk or existential risk. People with anxiety disorders are preoccupied with “what-if” scenarios and the study of global catastrophic risk and existential risks provides plenty of these scenarios that could destroy humanity or wipe out the planet. What if viral bioweapons kill a billion people? What if tension reignites conflicts between the USA and Russia leading to use of those countries’ thousands of nuclear weapons? What if simple human or computer error like the Dead Hand system causes the launch of thousands of nuclear missiles? What if electromagnetic pulses knock out electrical grids and cause human society to descend into chaos filled with murderous roving gangs? What if methane gets released from the ocean floor leading to runaway global warming and mass extinctions? What if a supervolcano eruption causes a volcanic winter that destroys the global food supply? What if humanity is causing extinction of some species necessary to the food chain that will cause massive human starvation due to its absence?

Some existential risks can be dealt with through science and engineering, but others are much more catastrophic. What if a large asteroid is on a direct path towards Earth? What if a black hole wanders into the solar system? What if a gamma ray burst wipes out all life on Earth in an instant? What if a cosmological event that no one knows about in advance destroys the planet? Maybe an advanced future civilization could deal with a risk like that, but our current civilization sure can’t.

Ordinary risks like heart disease and automobile accidents provide other things to worry about. Heart disease and accidents (not just vehicle accidents) cause around 750,000 deaths each year in the USA alone. Worldwide, road injuries by themselves cause 1.3 million deaths. A common argument about the safety of flying is that it’s much safer by mile than driving (which it is) but that just brought my attention to how many people still die in car accidents and how terrifying driving can be. More people should have a fearful attitude towards vehicles since we’re inattentive primates piloting thousands of pounds of metal. Why even bother working hard at anything in life if all your effort can be wiped out in an instant by a drunk or distracted driver?

Medical errors contribute to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of patients each year. One estimate using the Global Trigger Tool found that adverse events occurred in one-third of all hospital admissions. Another estimate suggested that more than 400,000 deaths were attributable to hospital care. Those are just the deaths associated with hospital care and not even the deaths associated with regular medical care, which probably adds to the total number of deaths due to medication interactions, infections, and other risks.

I wonder how people dealt with major risks in the dangerous Cold War era with its mutually assured destruction and nonexistent automobile safety. In those days a tiny dispute in Cuba could escalate to the USSR launching thousands of nuclear warheads. Someone’s kid could go off to prom one minute and end up decapitated in a car accident the next minute. Maybe that’s why alcohol and cigarettes and tranquilizers were so popular. Before antibiotics were perfected, someone could get scratched by a rose bush and end up dying. Antibiotic resistant bacteria threaten to return us to those days. How did people ever get out of bed knowing that a single tiny mistake could lead to death? Maybe that’s why religion became so widespread throughout history.

Human mortality provides a classic source of existential anxiety. Human consciousness probably just disappears after the irreversible loss of brain function when a person dies, but how do you test that? The easiest method is to compare brain scans of healthy people with the brains of dying people to find which brain networks lose activity. One evil idea is to try to induce near death experiences in people by stopping their heart in an attempt to replicate others’ reported experiences with the afterlife and then question them for details of other realms. Dr. Sam Parnia offers a more humane approach through the hypothesis that freezing trauma patients with therapeutic hypothermia could lead to more near death experiences and reports of the afterlife when they recover.

Religious people are confident their religion is true, but what if they’re wrong? What if Muslims are right and all the Christians end up in hell? What if Christians are right and all the Muslims end up in hell? What if nobody is right because the true religion was lost to history and everyone now ends up in hell after they die? Religions are probably just human inventions, but there are other frightening possibilities compatible with a material universe. What if the universe is a simulation and people go through an infinitely prolonged and infinitely painful transition process at the hands of the simulation creators after they die? What if extraterrestrials or other beings figured out a way to use advanced technology to extract human consciousness in some form and reassemble it elsewhere to torture it forever?

If such a hellish scenario really existed it would be a moral imperative to develop the technology to enter that dimension and overthrow those superbeings to rescue trapped and tortured human consciousness. If the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics is true, this means there are numerous universes where human beings undergo excruciating pain at the hands of godlike beings. To test these ideas, scientists would have to know everything about the universe (or multiverse) and furthermore figure out a way to know that they know everything.

A near-impossible task like preventing every cause of death seems almost reasonable compared to this. Can existing humans with their feeble brains even estimate the probability of ordinary and existentially catastrophic events without some kind of intelligence augmentation? There’s a need to create ways of augmenting human intelligence with implants and artificial intelligence to better deal with risks. Some of the potential causes of global catastrophic risks like genetic enhancement and nanotechnology and artificial superintelligence are also some of the things we need in order to prevent those same catastrophic risks.

Like me, celebrities are opening up about their experiences with death anxiety and living in fear of death.

Emma Stone: “I’m close to my mortality. I think about it every day. Not in a freaky way, but constantly. I feel hyper-aware that everything could end. That’s always been in my mind, for whatever reason, since I was very small.”

Lena Dunham: “I think a fair amount about the fact that we’re all going to die. It occurs to me at incredibly inopportune moments… I wish I could be one of those young people who seems totally unaware of the fact that her gleaming nubile body is, in fact, fallible… But I am not one of those young people. I’ve been obsessed with death since I was born… I walked into the kitchen, laid my head on the table, and asked my father, ‘How are we supposed to live every day if we know we’re going to die?'”

Rita Ora: “Death is my biggest phobia. I used to have panic attacks when I was little, saying, ‘Mum, I don’t want to die.’ I’ve been to therapy and still try to go every week.”

Uncertainty and ambiguity surround death, since nobody is one hundred percent sure what happens after death. Some people claim to know with absolute certainty, but how do you even test what happens after death? Uncertainty and ambiguity are major drivers of anxiety. Terror management theory and the book The Worm at the Core describe how a large amount of human psychology involves grappling with death anxiety. The human struggle with how to think about death shaped religions and world history.

Some people grow up with an intense fear of hell as a result of fundamentalist religious backgrounds. This often manifests in Religious Trauma Syndrome. Fundamentalist religions control people by exploiting the human mind. Even if people didn’t grow up with a traumatic religious background, religious authoritarianism pervades many societies and their political systems. This constant background of religiously-motivated fear affects people predisposed to anxiety. Belief in a punitive god is associated with psychiatric symptoms. Atheists responded to these religious excesses with their own attempts to relieve the fear of death by describing a state of nothingness after death, but I also find those attempts lacking. So far I haven’t found any useful ways of dealing with death anxiety aside from distraction through workaholism and exercise and meditation and minor tranquilizers, but these only provide temporary relief.

People lucky enough to live without death anxiety use flippant arguments to dismiss others’ fear of death. Examples of all these lame arguments are offered in the comments of a recent Guardian article on death anxiety. Maybe those commenters won’t be so lucky if the afterlife isn’t as pleasurable or nonexistent as they assume. I think all of humanity’s effort should be devoted to extending lifespan at any cost, since the tiny possibility of a hostile afterlife is terrifying. The following flawed arguments often get deployed in discussions of death anxiety, and this list also includes my responses to those arguments:

Appeal to acceptance: Fearless people tell individuals suffering from death anxiety to just get over it. Anxiety has a neurobiological basis in the brain where thoughts are determined and some people can’t simply choose to think different thoughts or stop worrying about death.

Appeal to nature: This is the naturalistic fallacy. Death is natural, but so was dying in infancy before antibiotics. Dying from malaria in childhood is natural in certain parts of the world, but philanthropists and medical professionals are working to change that.

Appeal to religion: How do people know they picked the correct religion or belief system that leads to a happy afterlife? What if an advanced species that operates in more dimensions than humans has materialist methods to extract human consciousness and torture it?

Appeal to social justice: Some people take a perverse pleasure in thinking that death is the final outcome of both rich and poor. Isn’t it more important to work to extend the lifespan of everyone from every economic and social class?

Appeal to nothingness: Most atheists say that consciousness emerges from the brain and just disappears after death. Biology professor and atheist Richard Dawkins says that those who die after living are the lucky ones since DNA allows for a massive number of potential people who never existed in the first place. That’s not very comforting to someone living in fear of uncertainty about what happens after death. The following arguments are similar to the appeal to nothingness argument.

Appeal to anesthesia: Many people have experienced unconsciousness caused by anesthesia at some point in their lives. One minute you’re conscious and breathing an anesthetic, the next minute you’ve woken up wondering what happened. Most general anesthesia is combined with other medications in ways that lead to short-term amnesia. There’s no guarantee that the subjective experience of anesthesia is the same as what happens to consciousness after death.

Appeal to resuscitation: Some people who died on the operating table claim to have experienced nothingness before they were resuscitated. This isn’t necessarily the same as what happens to consciousness after death.

Appeal to time before birth: Nonreligious people often quote Mark Twain, who talks about being dead for billions of years before being born. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that what comes after death is the same state.

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Being Fat Isn’t Your Fault

Some people still think hatred and ridicule of fat people is one of the last forms of acceptable discrimination. The reality is that people don’t choose to be obese. Blaming obesity on genetics often gets ridiculed as “fatlogic” but a variety of studies indicate that obesity and body type have heritable components. Some research even estimates the heritability of body mass index and body type at 80% to 90%! Twin studies and family studies help estimate the variation in a trait that’s attributable to genetic factors (as opposed to shared environment or unique environment). Even if a trait like obesity or body shape isn’t completely genetic, it can still be influenced by environmental factors that individuals don’t choose.

Some people are just more susceptible than others to increased appetite, fat storage, low metabolism, neural rewards from high-calorie food, food addiction, binge eating, low self-control, insufficient sleep, history of trauma, obesogenic gut microbiota, endocrine disruptors, pregnancy weight gain, medications, advertising, illnesses, temperature, and other factors that contribute to overeating and obesity. Weight loss is physically possible, but people don’t choose their adiposity or body shape. You have to do a root cause analysis to discover determinants of obesity. Eating too much leads to weight gain, but what causes people to eat too much in the first place? It’s not personal choice. It’s the result of brain activity driven by genetic and environmental influences. Free will and personal responsibility are just unscientific myths.

Heritability estimates of body mass index and body shape:

94%: BMI among pre-menopausal women

89%: BMI

88%: somatotype in females

88% to 97%: somatotype

86%: obesity in females

86%: mesomorphy in men

84%: BMI in males

82%: mesomorphy in women

82%: genetic component of regional fat percentages

82%: endomorphy in girls

82%: childhood BMI

82%: BMI in females

82%: BMI attributable to additive genetic effects

81%: weight in males

81%: ectomorphy in girls

80%: mesomorphy in boys

80%: interindividual variation of BMI

80%: BMI in males

79%: mesomorphy in girls

79%: BMI in twins reared apart

79%: BMI in males

79%: BMI in females

78%: BMI in females

78%: BMI at age 11

78%: BMI

77%: waist circumference

77%: current body weight

77%: BMI

76% to 89%: endormorphy in girls

75%: BMI

75% to 86%: BMI

75% to 80%: phenotypic variation in percent body fat

75% to 78%: BMI

73%: weight unrelated to height in females

73%: skinfolds in males

73%: obesity

73%: body surface area

72%: BMI in males

71%: maximum BMI

71%: female waist circumference

70%: variance in abdominal fat

70%: trend in adult weight gain

70%: ectomorphy in women

70%: BMI in males

68%: weight

68%: mesomorphy

66%: ectomorphy in men

66%: BMI in males

64%: variance in obesity in males

63% to 69%: middle age BMI

61%: waist circumference among post-menopausal women

61%: metabolic syndrome

61% to 87%: BMI among 11 to 12 year olds

60%: emotional eating

60% to 70%: BMI and obesity

59% to 70%: BMI

57% to 76%: ectomorphy in girls

56%: endomorphy

56%: ectomorphy

56% to 73%: body composition

55%: endomorphy

54%: ectomorphy

52%: mesomorphy

50%: endomorphy

46%: ectomorphy

45%: endomorphy in boys

44%: ectomorphy in boys

42%: mesomorphy

36% to 57%: mesomorphy in girls

References:

A genetic analysis of relative weight among 4,020 twin pairs, with an emphasis on sex effects.

A population-based twin study on sleep duration and body composition.

A QTL genome scan of the metabolic syndrome and its component traits.

A twin study of human obesity.

A twin study of sleep duration and body mass index.

Body weight in the Finnish Twin Cohort.

Childhood obesity: genetic and environmental overlap with normal-range BMI.

Distribution and heritability of BMI in Finnish adolescents aged 16y and 17y: a study of 4884 twins and 2509 singletons.

Evidence for a strong genetic influence on childhood adiposity despite the force of the obesogenic environment.

Evidence for higher heritability of somatotype compared to body mass index in female twins.

Evidence for independent genetic influences on fat mass and body mass index in a pediatric twin sample.

Evidence of genetic influence on central body fat in middle-aged twins.

Evidence of shared genetic effects between pre- and postobesity epidemic BMI levels.

Familial resemblance for physique: heritabilities for somatotype components.

Finding the missing heritability in pediatric obesity: the contribution of genome-wide complex trait analysis.

Genetic and environmental contributions to BMI in adolescent and young adult women.

Genetic and environmental contributions to obesity and binge eating.

Genetic and environmental correlations between obesity and body fat distribution in adult male twins.

Genetic and environmental influences on adiponectin, leptin, and BMI among adolescents in Taiwan: a multivariate twin/sibling analysis.

Genetic and environmental influences on BMI from late childhood to adolescence are modified by parental education.

Genetic and environmental influences on eating behavior: the Swedish Young Male Twins Study.

Genetic and environmental influences on insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and obesity in twins.

Genetic effects on obesity assessed by bivariate genome scan: the Mexican-American coronary artery disease study.

Genetic factors in self-reported snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness: a twin study.

Genetic influences on adult weight gain and maximum body mass index in male twins.

Genetic influences on central abdominal fat: a twin study.

Genetic influences on growth traits of BMI: a longitudinal study of adult twins.

Genetic study on somatotype of child and adolescent twins in Han nationality.

Heritability estimates of somatotype components based upon familial data.

Heritability of determinants of the metabolic syndrome among healthy Arabs of the Oman family study.

Heritability of eating behavior assessed using the DEBQ (Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire) and weight-related traits: the Healthy Twin Study.

Heritability of plasma leptin levels: a twin study.

Heritability of somatotype components from early adolescence into young adulthood: a multivariate analysis on a longitudinal twin study.

Heritability of somatotype components: a multivariate analysis.

Heritability of the somatotype components in Biscay families.

Increasing genetic variance of body mass index during the Swedish obesity epidemic.

Increasing heritability of BMI and stronger associations with the FTO gene over childhood.

Linkage analysis of obesity phenotypes in pre- and post-menopausal women from a United States mid-western population.

No linkage to obesity in candidate regions of chromosome 2 and 10 in a selected sample of Swedish twins.

Physical activity reduces the influence of genetic effects on BMI and waist circumference: a study in young adult twins.

Stable genes and changing environments: body mass index across adolescence and young adulthood.

The genetics of middle-age spread in middle-class males.

The heritability of body mass index among an international sample of monozygotic twins reared apart.

Total and regional fat distribution is strongly influenced by genetic factors in young and elderly twins.

Twin resemblance in somatotype and comparisons with other twin studies.

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