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The HDMI Cable Discussion - Page 6

post #76 of 338
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaywalk3r View Post


That is incorrect. Evidence suggests that the placebos can be effective even when the subject is aware that they are receiving a placebo. See Placebos without deception.
You cannot legitimately rule out the placebo effect simply because you were aware of the possibility of the placebo effect.


Since I have to go and do a 12 hour graveyard shift, I'll make a quick point on this now and comment on the rest later.

 

This study presented in the link is the same study ac500 previously provided me on a pm, just in a different presentation (ac500, please confirm this).

 

Now, for the purpose of my statement with Placebo, I realize that the definition or criteria needs to be refined.  But before I do so, a few comments on the study.

 

A. It's extremely flawed. IBS being the main protagonist of symptoms. Why are the subjects comprised of 70% women and the rest men. Why isn't their other mental conditions, if at all, are not presented or discussed. Was there a blind test, a double blind and mix test conducted? No, there was not.  But, as many as these flaws exist, which clearly factor into results and make them unreliable.  The grossest and I MEAN GROSSED error and misleading statement in this study, is that it's a Placebo without deception or as such. There is a deception at play in this study, a while it's a minor one, it's is a deception. Note that for ANY placebo to work, may that be an artifact or a sugar pill, a suggestion that 'this will help you', or 'improve your condition', or 'shown to have improved same conditions previuosly' has to be either made or somehow expressed or communicated to the subject. That's the bottom line of Placebo, this is how it works.  In this case, while the subjects were told that they will be given Placebos, they were also informed that those Placebos HAVE PREVIOUSLY "been shown in clinical studies to produce significant improvement in IBS symptoms through mind-body self-healing processes"   <----  This right there, is classic Placebo at it's best. Not only it's a deception, it's one in the worst kind. They're pulling this stunt literally over the subjects eyes.  This is not a Placebo without deception, rather either some twisted reverse psychology or mind games.  And the proof for this is that while those subjects shown improvement while using this 'Placebos', they only did so because they were told and suggested that those Placebos have clinically proven to improve IBS symptoms.  But guess what, if those patients would have been told that these placebos have no effects whats or ever, or worse, been clinically proven to worsen the IBS conditions, what do you suppose the study results would have shown and proven?  

 

The above is not more and no less analogous to superstition in its mildest form. Think of sports athletes, and I mean the Pros. Ever heard of a Rabbit's foot? A lucky charm, a necklace, a specific sock or shirt or pants or underwear players wear for major games ??  Is that real? Is that Placebo? Is that Superstition?  Clearly, those players are aware that this is in their minds... yet, having those artifacts on gives them peace of mind and allows them to perform better...   Is that Placebo or superstition?  And for that matter, where does religion factor into this? Faith, belief, superstition.. Placebo?    

 

Trust me, you don't want to head there, it's endless. 

 

So let me just refine the definition of Placebo here so there are no mistakes.  If a person is already subjected to an ongoing Placebo, and is showing positive correlation and reaction to hypothesized results... without him being aware of it FIRSTLY (although somehow suggested, either flat out or covertly that 'this will improve something'), then any subsequent administering of the drug or the placebo artifact would still work or be active along those parameters. Even if you inform the subject that he was under placebo, unless this person has an iron will power, which is rare, he will still exhibit positive reaction to the Placebo effect. Simply because his mind has already converted to believe that this works.  But it's still by deception initially.   However, this won't work the other way around.

 

 

 

 

post #77 of 338
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac500 View Post

I'll try to explain nontechnically.

 

Digital is 1s and 0s -- in concept. But digital exists in analog medium. Cables can suffer interference, changing 0s to 1s and 1s to 0s. Uh oh! That's bad! Fortunately, this problem has been solved for decades and dealing with this is pretty ordinary. The answer in short? Error detection and correction.

 

First lets start with a little "error detection 101". Let's say we want to send someone a series of numbers over a noisy channel, and we want to be 100% sure they get there intact, or not at all. Here's an idea: In addition to sending the numbers, add them all up and send the sum too at the end, so the receiver can verify. Example:

 

Send: 5 2 9 3 8 2 4 (34) <-- sum 

 

Receive: 5 2 9 4 8 2 4 (34)

 

Uh oh. I received something that doesn't add up! But that's good... we've successfully detected an error! There's no uncertainty here at all* because we know when errors occur! Hmm... but really, no uncertainty at all

 

*What is the probability that a random distortion changes the numbers and the error goes undetected? Well, you'd have to change one number upwards and another number downwards just the right amount so the sum still adds up. Or you'd have to change one number and change the sum too. In this case, the odds of that happening depends on the range of numbers, the type of distortion possible, etc... but it's extremely unlikely. But it's still not unlikely enough. One in a billion still can happen. So what next?

 

Would you believe it if I told you... this is a stupidly simplified example? In reality, error detection codes are much more complex than this (not usually just a simple sum) and incredibly robust to the point where it's probably more likely that the sun spontaneously explodes than an error gets through undetected (that is, if we're actually trying to detect them -- and we almost always do -- certainly in HDMI we do).

 

Now my point in saying all this is simple. We can build a machine (HDMI TV) that can literally count the number of errors where the signal deviates from bit-perfect 100% perfect signal (and know exactly which pixels are effected). We can identify how many and what incorrect pixels were received with astounding certainty - I'm talking about certainty so high, that it would be more likely to win the lottery a million times in a row than for an error to be miss-identified.

 

Now, here's an exercise to the reader: For regular HDMI cable lengths, can you guess how often such errors occur? Exercise #2: When they do occur, is it possible for such errors to effect contrast/sharpness? (Hint: Not a chance.)

So you're saying there's a chance........

JimC.jpg
 

 

post #78 of 338
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shotor102 View Post

The grossest and I MEAN GROSSED error and misleading statement in this study, is that it's a Placebo without deception or as such. There is a deception at play in this study, a while it's a minor one, it's is a deception. Note that for ANY placebo to work, may that be an artifact or a sugar pill, a suggestion that 'this will help you', or 'improve your condition', or 'shown to have improved same conditions previuosly' has to be either made or somehow expressed or communicated to the subject. That's the bottom line of Placebo, this is how it works.  In this case, while the subjects were told that they will be given Placebos, they were also informed that those Placebos HAVE PREVIOUSLY "been shown in clinical studies to produce significant improvement in IBS symptoms through mind-body self-healing processes"   <----  This right there, is classic Placebo at it's best. Not only it's a deception, it's one in the worst kind. They're pulling this stunt literally over the subjects eyes.  This is not a Placebo without deception, rather either some twisted reverse psychology or mind games.

No, there is no deception there. It was an example of the researchers being straight forward with the subjects of the experiment. They were informed that the treatments they were to receive were inert, without any medicinal value. Further, it was explained to them that “placebo pills, something like sugar pills, have been shown in rigorous clinical testing to produce significant mind-body self-healing (emphasis mine -Jaywalk3r) processes." Yet, the placebos were still effective.

That is no different than you being aware of the placebo effect of upgrading HDMI cables, and yet still experiencing that placebo effect. You said you were skeptical of the possibility of improvement via upgrading an HDMI cable. The patients were told that they were receiving a placebo. You were aware that people could perceive an improvement due to the placebo effect. The patients were told that placebo pills had been shown to produce self-healing. You perceived improvements due to the placebo effect. A significant portion of the patients perceived improvements due to the placebo effect. It's the same thing.
post #79 of 338

^ I lol'd.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shotor102 View Post


Since I have to go and do a 12 hour graveyard shift, I'll make a quick point on this now and comment on the rest later.

 

This study presented in the link is the same study ac500 previously provided me on a pm, just in a different presentation (ac500, please confirm this).



I have to agree with shotor (I hate to admit it!) about some of the problems with the study. Before I get to that, I want to criticize the criticism. It's not an issue that they only used one medical condition (IBS) for the study. In fact, that was a proper choice. The purpose of the study was not to compare how this effect might work among different medical conditions. They were testing to see if the effect would be found. If they had other medical conditions present, it could have raised questions about how to properly interpret results. Each medical condition would have a different set of scales to measure symptoms and the improvements as a result of the "treatment" could vary in different ways so it would be questionable to compare that data. The distribution of women to men shouldn't have been an issue either. Sometimes you have to go with the samples that are available and I'd imagine that's what they did. That difference in numbers should not be of concern. An in depth look at the data would easily reveal if there had been a significant difference based on gender. I'd need to see the full publication but, from what I can gather, there was either the placebo pill with the description or no treatment. In that regard, it could not be a double blind test. You can't blind the participant on which condition they're in when one of them is no actual treatment. I think they'd be aware that they aren't receiving a pill lol. Since they weren't comparing 2 treatments, there isn't really a reason to implement "blind" procedures here. I wouldn't call it deception... but I can see why it could be considered that. I'll touch more on that now that I'm starting the portion where I agree with you.

 

The study didn't exactly prove anything useful. It is still a placebo effect with the use of an inert substance given to patients under the belief that it will yield improvements in their symptoms. They shouldn't have suggested that the pill has resulted in improved symptoms or at least they should have provided a more in depth explanation of placebos. In fact, I don't think it's a problem that they say that people have improved while taking a placebo. They just needed to clearly explain that those improvements were the result of the placebo effect. Explain that the placebo effect works because people believe they are taking an actual medication. Then go on to explain that the patients in the study will only receive a placebo and explain that means they are receiving an inert pill that should not improve their symptoms. If it had been more clear on the idea that there shouldn't be an improvement, then I think this study would have been more along the lines of what it's trying to suggest.

 

I actually did a research paper on the psychology of superstition so I can safely say that it's a little bit different than what you're describing. Superstition may improve performance out of expectations, but the root of superstition is more connected to learning theories. A superstition, in an over-simplified explanation, is basically a learned connection between a positive or negative event in relation to another environmental factor. For example: You go to a casino and gamble for 2 days without changing clothes or anything. No luck. You notice your shirt is smelling pretty foul so you go change, then head back to the casino floor. You place a bet and suddenly you've won. Even though we all know that was a statistical probability, that shirt was the noted change and has suddenly become the "lucky shirt". In a way, superstition works in reverse. A superstition is formed when a difference is noticed and is then attributed to something like an item. A placebo works on the idea that the item will cause a difference, therefore you realize a difference.

 

I know I didn't word a lot of that as well as I could have and I definitely didn't elaborate on all of the ideas. If you'd like more clarification on what I'm trying to say on any particular topic above, let me know and I'll give it another attempt.

 

Shotor: I still doubt your perceived differences between cables and it's impossible to rule out a flaw in your expectations/perceptions/whatever you want to describe it as. You were skeptical that the cable would make a difference. The second that cable fixed the issue, your expectations were proven to be different than the reality of the situation and that could easily be enough to open you to the idea that the image produced was somehow different. Even the slightest thought that it might be different could be enough. Your memory of the situation may also be slightly erroneous. Mind you, I'm not trying to specifically question your memory. Human memory is inherently flawed and can suffer from many different influences to change how we remember things at any given time. This is why anecdotal evidence is basically useless. Until there's a properly designed, blind study conducted, it's kind of useless to argue about perceived differences.

post #80 of 338
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaywalk3r View Post

No, there is no deception there. It was an example of the researchers being straight forward with the subjects of the experiment. They were informed that the treatments they were to receive were inert, without any medicinal value. Further, it was explained to them that “placebo pills, something like sugar pills, have been shown in rigorous clinical testing to produce significant mind-body self-healing (emphasis mine -Jaywalk3r) processes." Yet, the placebos were still effective.
That is no different than you being aware of the placebo effect of upgrading HDMI cables, and yet still experiencing that placebo effect. You said you were skeptical of the possibility of improvement via upgrading an HDMI cable. The patients were told that they were receiving a placebo. You were aware that people could perceive an improvement due to the placebo effect. The patients were told that placebo pills had been shown to produce self-healing. You perceived improvements due to the placebo effect. A significant portion of the patients perceived improvements due to the placebo effect. It's the same thing.


Like I mentioned in my longer post, I have to agree with shotor. Unless the actual description given to the participants was longer and more detailed, the information shown in the abstract would definitely give the implication that the pills have resulted in improvements. If the participants held a full understanding of placebo, then maybe that description was sufficient, but that's a rather large assumption to make. The information given to the participants in regards to the pill was definitely much more in favor of the pill having some sort of actual effect and it doesn't clearly specify that there should not be an effect as a result of the pill. 

post #81 of 338

You guys made a thread for this? floatsmile.png Also if you are using inferior LCD technology you should look into upgrading that first before nitpicking over cables.

 

CC Lemon just reminded me of a piece in my book about randomness. Fighter pilot instructors use negative reinforcement and claim that it works.....when in reality if a guy did bad on his previous run, chances are he will do better in his next run, screaming profanities at him doesn't help.

If somebody has an exceptional run the instructor praises them and when they do worse the next time, he says "see being positive hurts their performance" when in reality they were likely to, as we say in baseball, "regress to the mean".  Everyone should read this book "The  DRunkard's walk"

 

I would bet my pair of Ultrasone's and HARX700 (which are my only 2 pairs not up for sale) if you took 100 people and put them in front of 720/1080i/1080p and component/HDMI setups with the same displays and same source, none of them could tell the difference between any of them at any decent clip, not to even mention a cheap cable over an expensive one. 


Edited by Astrozombie - 2/17/12 at 6:42pm
post #82 of 338
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post

So you're saying there's a chance........

JimC.jpg
 

 


Not quite. There's a chance of errors that are equally likely to happen on expensive cables.

 

post #83 of 338

dorino, I think you missed the sarcasm/joke he was going for...

post #84 of 338
Quote:
Originally Posted by CC Lemon View Post

dorino, I think you missed the sarcasm/joke he was going for...


Yeah, I think I did.

 

post #85 of 338
Quote:
Originally Posted by CC Lemon View Post

"They just needed to clearly explain that those improvements were the result of the placebo effect. Explain that the placebo effect works because people believe they are taking an actual medication. Then go on to explain that the patients in the study will only receive a placebo and explain that means they are receiving an inert pill that should not improve their symptoms.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CC Lemon View Post

Like I mentioned in my longer post, I have to agree with shotor. Unless the actual description given to the participants was longer and more detailed, the information shown in the abstract would definitely give the implication that the pills have resulted in improvements. If the participants held a full understanding of placebo, then maybe that description was sufficient, but that's a rather large assumption to make. The information given to the participants in regards to the pill was definitely much more in favor of the pill having some sort of actual effect and it doesn't clearly specify that there should not be an effect as a result of the pill. 



I think the researchers did that pretty well, according to the protocol document available for download from the NIH page with the published study. The exception seems to be that they did not imply that the pill should not improve their symptoms (doing so would have defeated the purpose of the study). Instead, in addition to informing the patients about existing evidence regarding placebos, they pointed out possible mechanisms by which the placebo effect can occur. The researchers, if they stuck to their protocol, were very honest and straightforward with the subjects.

From the document (emphasis mine):
The intervention will be geared to maximizing the contributions of positive expectation, conditioning, adherence and a supportive and confident patient practitioner relationship to the placebo response of IBS patients taking an open-label placebo pill. The first phase of the discussion will be designed to enhance expectation. Patients will be asked whether they have heard of the placebo effect and what they think of it. After a brief exchange geared
to supporting any positive feelings the patient may have about placebo effects, the practitioner will then talk about the evidence supporting the idea that just
taking placebo pills with a positive expectation initiates still poorly understood effects that can have a profound impact of illness. It will be clearly explained that placebo are made of "inert" substances like sugar pills but have been show in clinical trials to improve patient symptoms. The practitioner will discuss our published meta-analysis that showed on average 42% of patients on placebo treatment improve in IBS RCTs (Patel et al 2005). Furthermore, the patients will be informed about our recent IBS study showing that placebo acupuncture was as effective as current medications for IBS but without the side effects. Also during this discussion, to support expectation and to insure that patients are not conflicted about placebo improvement somehow being a sign that the IBS is “in their heads,” the physician or nurse practitioner will also explain that placebo effects change human physiology and can improve immune, endocrine, and pain mechanisms and that response to placebo is a demonstration of “self-healing capacities.” During the discussion the treating physician or nurse practitioner will naturally and clearly repeat the words that are stated in the informed consent that informs the patient that he/she will receive “an inert substance (the placebo), something like a sugar pill, that has been shown in rigorous clinical tests to somehow produce significant self-healing processes in IBS patients.” The treatment will also seek to maximize the contributions of adherence and conditioning to the placebo effect of IBS. Patients will be told that it is critical to take the pill two times daily with meals and that scientific evidence suggests that the positive effects of the pill taking will only happen if one is meticulous about taking the pill. Patients will be asked to describe situations in their life where taking pills had positive effects in their lives. When such a situation is remembered, patients will be encouraged to remember this context when they’re taking their inert medications. To again take any negative connotation about “the symptoms are in their head” patients will be informed about how conditioning with pills can “automatic trigger” a conditioning response like Pavlov’s dog who salivate to a bell.Confidence will be fostered as the practitioner explains the evidence concerning placebo effects.

My biggest concern with the study is the relatively high p-value (p = .08) for quality of life after 21 days of treatment. That concern, however, is pretty minor, since the p-value is still pretty low. Since the related research is sparse, it may have been somewhat difficult to accurately predict the sample size necessary to demonstrate the effect. While the study does not conclusively prove its hypothesis, it certainly shows that the hypothesis it, at the very minimum, quite reasonable and worthy of further study. At any rate, the study is sufficient to show that one cannot assume that "Placebo does not take effect on someone who is aware that it is a Placebo," as Shotor102 claimed (and was previously thought by researchers).
Edited by Jaywalk3r - 2/17/12 at 7:17pm
post #86 of 338

Exactly what I was going for. That seems like a more reasonable approach that would better suit their goals for the research. If the short line quoted in the abstract was all that was said, then I would have issues with the methods.
 

I will still question the link to this and the views held by users that describe themselves as skeptics until they witnessed a difference in HDMI cables. While it does offer some evidence that the placebo effect can be seen on people aware of it, it also highly prompted the participants with the idea that they can still expect improvement. If someone truly approached a high quality HDMI cable with the thought that it has no chance of making a difference, then that's a completely different situation than taking a pill that has been highly suggested to have the potential to make a difference by experimenters. You're comparing doubt + awareness of placebo vs suggested improvements + awareness of placebo. Plus, taking a placebo pill (under the belief that it is treatment) can result in actual physical improvements for people, not just perceived differences. Believing that an HDMI cable will or will not affect the image quality has no effect on whether or not the HDMI cable will actually have an affect. It will only affect your perception.

post #87 of 338
Quote:
Originally Posted by CC Lemon View Post

Exactly what I was going for. That seems like a more reasonable approach that would better suit their goals for the research. If the short line quoted in the abstract was all that was said, then I would have issues with the methods.

 
I will still question the link to this and the views held by users that describe themselves as skeptics until they witnessed a difference in HDMI cables. While it does offer some evidence that the placebo effect can be seen on people aware of it, it also highly prompted the participants with the idea that they can still expect improvement. If someone truly approached a high quality HDMI cable with the thought that it has no chance of making a difference, then that's a completely different situation than taking a pill that has been highly suggested to have the potential to make a difference by experimenters. You're comparing doubt + awareness of placebo vs suggested improvements + awareness of placebo. Plus, taking a placebo pill (under the belief that it is treatment) can result in actual physical improvements for people, not just perceived differences. Believing that an HDMI cable will or will not affect the image quality has no effect on whether or not the HDMI cable will actually have an affect. It will only affect your perception.

That's a fair point.

I do question how skeptical someone really is about potential performance improvements if they are spending over $50 on an HDMI cable, though. I suspect most people who spend that much are at least hopeful that it will be better than the $5 shipped worldwide cable they could get from ebay.
Edited by Jaywalk3r - 2/17/12 at 11:03pm
post #88 of 338
post #89 of 338
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaywalk3r View Post


That's a fair point.
I do question how skeptical someone really is about potential performance improvements if they are spending over $50 on an HDMI cable, though. I suspect most people who spend that much are at least hopeful that it will be better than the $5 shipped worldwide cable they could get from ebay.


Well, in shotor's story he was in a tight situation trying to figure out why his system wasn't working. I don't recall the cost of the cable he bought, but it was more expensive than the cheaper (but recommended) options without being ridiculous. He had no intent of keeping the cable and simply wanted a quick fix to test a possible solution to the problem he was having.

 

I definitely agree with your point though. On page 4, I was really curious why agisthos decided to spend nearly $200 on an HDMI cable after stating that he has tested many other high end cables and did not notice a difference. If you've done tests before and didn't think there was a difference, what was the point of spending even more money on the hope that another cable might be different somehow? Unless you do it to provide reviews or just have so much money that it doesn't matter, I don't really understand why someone would bother with it. Otherwise, I'd assume there must be some expectations of a difference.

 

Shotor's link above definitely covers what I was trying to get across, though it has the full publication to reference instead of just the abstract. They basically had to convince the participants that the placebo effect would be activated and would make them feel better if they took the pills, which is not vastly different than telling them that they are receiving a real treatment. The way things are worded, it basically makes the point of explaining that it is inert but quickly explains that the pills will help anyway. I'd like to have seen a comparison between a real placebo test (tell them that the placebo is an actual drug/treatment), the open placebo (as done in the experiment) and the no treatment control group. I'm guessing a placebo in a real study drug trial has a greater effect. So they probably provided evidence for a weaker placebo effect based on the suggestion of the placebo effect resulting from inert substances, though I'm not exactly sure why that's useful other than a good-to-know sort of way.

 

But, I still don't support shotor's story. Maybe it's true and maybe there is a difference that is from the HDMI cables, but it's anecdotal and does not control for A LOT of variables so I have to question it. This is why I keep saying a blind test is needed. I would expect that there is not a difference which is why you don't see companies like monster, audioquest, etc., posting results of any tests like that. It would be very easy marketing if the difference was noticeable. I expect they don't want to do a test like that because it would likely result in someone trying the experiment independently and providing conflicting evidence. For every anecdotal claim of perceived improvement, there's a published article or paper related to the technology that aids in explaining why those differences shouldn't be there. The lack of even 1 reasonably sound study suggesting a difference in cable quality is why I have to seriously doubt any anecdotal claim.

post #90 of 338
I have to disagree with the main criticisms from the linked article. The blogger seems to have either missed the purpose of the study or forgotten that experiments tend to be most effective when they test only one variable.

Placebos, when administered, are portrayed as useful and effective. However, hiding the identity of the placebo, representing it as something with medicinal value, is thought to be unethical. The researchers wanted to find out if placebos could still be effective if subjects knew that that was what they were receiving. Had the researchers not made the subjects aware that placebos had been shown to be effective in clinical studies, the subjects would have no expectation for the placebo to work. That would have been a second variable and could have raised an unnecessary question that would cloud the conclusion. If there was no difference between the two groups, would it have been because there were no expectations or because the subjects were aware that the treatment was placebo? As performed, the experiment avoided the results being clouded by such a question. They eliminated the unethical deceit without eliminating the expectation, which is exactly what they set out to do.

Those circumstances admittedly may not match up exactly to Shotor102's situation, but in general are analogous to many HDMI cable upgrades. A small amount of research will reveal to consumers that there is no known reason that a high dollar HDMI cable should perform noticeably better than an inexpensive one. That is, the extra money goes to purchase inert substance, a placebo, and that fact isn't kept secret from informed consumers. Of course, the salesperson may sing the praises of the high end cables despite the science. And, despite the science, many consumers who purchase the expensive cable claim being able to perceive an improvement.
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