Titanium Necklaces (From earlier posted wrong)

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One product that is being marketed very heavily to people, especially athletes is titanium necklaces and bracelets. The necklaces and bracelets are supposed to be able to boost athletes' performance. The way they work is that the titanium in the necklace is supposed to react with the electric flow in your body and make commutation within nerves more fluid. Because of these necklaces athletes believe they can stay fresh longer and that they can recover quicker. I think it seems impractical for such a little thing to be able to improve performance. If you look at the testing techniques you can see where they went wrong. One would be the scientific principle of correlation vs. causation. When the necklaces and wristbands were originally being tested the test subjects first attempted to complete an obstacle test without the wristbands or necklaces. On the second try the test subjects wore the necklaces and wristbands and completed the course quicker. The company concluded that when wearing the necklace athletes were able to perform better. The company had a confirmation bias because when they got the results they wanted and they accepted them. They should have asked themselves if wearing the necklaces or the wristbands were the true cause of the athletes were performing better. A study done UW-L proves that the necklace company had it wrong in their studies. UW-L had a group with the titanium necklaces and a group with non-titanium necklaces on. Their results concluded that no matter what necklace or bracelet an athlete had on they performed better on the second test because they knew what to expect.

http://www.theracquet.net/news/power-balance-a-bust-1.1730656#.TzIlIeSriSo

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I agree that they went about testing this the wrong way. Using the same people a second time would not work because they would already have an idea of what the maze would be like.

I think another principle that comes into question would be the extraordinary claims principle. The idea that just wearing a necklace or bracelet would improve your performance seems kind of out there. Adding the idea of altering electric flow just makes it even more questionable in my mind.

Not only do these companies make extraordinary claims but also studies show that the effects of these necklaces couldn't be replicated. And if we want to rule out rival hypothesis we could say that people's performance improved because the placebo effect plays a huge part in it. Almost every other week fads like titanium necklaces and magnetic pain relievers come up but do nothing more than just achieve the expected due to confirmation bias.

I agree that their version of testing the bracelets was inaccurate. There was an infomercial about this type of product where random people were selected from groups walking buy. They would have people stand on one leg while the salesman would pull on their arms to knock them over. Then, the salesman would have them put the bracelet on and these people could suddenly withstand the pushes they received. There's many other explanations for this: first, the participants could have been paid actors. Second, these people expected, just like the athletes, what would push them over and would better understand how to resist it. Therefore, I think these bracelets are mostly a scam.

These bracelets are too good to be true. I agree with your correlation vs causation argument but I think Occam's Razor works as well. The athletes maybe performed better because they thought the bracelets would work, causing them to push themselves hard unconsciously. I think further experiments should have some athletes with a placebo.

I would also agree that the study you mentioned was very flawed. They definitely need a control group in the study with perhaps an iron bracelet. These subjects would think they are wearing the titanium bracelet and it would act as a placebo. If they still performed better, than the increase in performance would have been a result of psychological causes. The study should also be replicated a multitude of times before the companies make these extraordinary claims.

These titanium bracelets are very similar to the Powerbalance bracelets. I think that the majority of people that wear these benefit from a "placebo" type effect. I agree that these companies most likely made an error and assumed that the results they received were correlated with the bracelets. There should be a disclaimer on these products before people spend their money on them.

I've often wondered about their study methods after seeing many of my friends fall victim to the marketing claims. Obviously there are no adverse effects to wearing these so I feel no moral obligation to bust their bubbles, but I've been suspicious. As a serious athlete myself, I am convinced that performance is a mixture of training and (mostly) mindset. There's truth to the saying, "it's all in your head."

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This page contains a single entry by dier0128 published on May 2, 2012 2:34 PM.

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