Questionable Motives

July 19, 2010

What is all this about digital drugs and I-dosing?

Filed under: Entertainment,I-dosing,Media,Science — tildeb @ 10:04 am

The latest parental fluttering about the pernicious influence of the internet comes to us from Oklahoma’s Channel 9 about how i-dosing is the new ‘gateway drug’ and it’s turning some teens into stoners. (The video can be accessed from the site’s side menu.) The effects of street drugs are always a significant concern so how is it that wave files downloaded from the internet can alter brain function that leads to doing street drugs? Well, it turns out… they don’t. Are we surprised?

From Doctor Steve Novella at Neurologica:

According to the report, teenagers are listening to tracks containing binuaral beats, which alter brain waves and can create a high. There is one piece of information that is conspicuously missing from the (news) report, however. Binaural beats are complete pseudoscience – they don’t work, they don’t affect brain function. You cannot get high from listening to noise.

Thanks, Doctor Steve. Someday, maybe newscasters themselves will take a moment and insist that stories about to be aired actually meet some basic requirement to be true. It might help already overburdened parents from having to deal with more unnecessary stupidity.


  1. Imagine just for one moment that it was possible to get high from noise.

    Like all things noise can be created with a specific purpose – like speech, music or signal – or it can be generated by random events, like rain, wind or footsteps. Now if noise really did make you high, then it is reasonable to assume that would have found out about this years ago, and we would be using this effect socially and recreationally, much like we do with other things that make us high. In addition, if noise made people high, it would be an affective weapon, why shoot troops when you can just make them stoned by playing them some hypnotic beats? Why would clubbers need to take LSD and MDMA – just play them the right notes, and they will get high. Why would music need to sound good – just play them the right combination of notes and it would make people high, and would therefore sell more records.

    You only have to think about this idea for a tiny amount of time to realise that it is just stupid and totally ridiculous.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — July 19, 2010 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

    • It’s that ‘thinking’ part – meaning skepticism – that seems to elude so many people.

      The News 9 report included no skepticism at all about binaural beats. The reporters did not even ask the question of whether or not these digital drugs actually work, let alone consult an expert. Instead they presented the most sensational opinions and the immediate knee-jerk panicked reactions of schools and officials. National news outlets then repeated the story without adding any skepticism or useful information.

      Comment by tildeb — July 19, 2010 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

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