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"Sport Medicine Journal" No.7 - 2006

Science and pseudoscience in the investigation of stress

Petru Derevenco
Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences


The progress obtained in the last decennies have developed a multidisciplinary concept of stress. A reality of the contemporary society, stress involves as well scientists as large sections of population, inclusively the sport community. The present paper has been stimulated by reflections of S. J. Lynn dealing with science and pseudoscience in clinical psychology. Science is a systematized knowledge derived from observation, experimentation and study leading to hypotheses and theories. The main features of pseudoscience are overuse of ad-hoc hypotheses, absence of self-correction, lacunary methodology, obscure or repeatedly language. In contrast to science, pseudoscience uses empirically non-proved facts. Examples of pseudoscientific issues: every stress is noxious and it exists miraculous procedures to prevent and treat stress. Non-science is even more discutable: for instance the bioenergetical anti-stress therapy or the existence of three kinds of biorhythms related to birthdates. Wrong opinies and stereotypes are frequent in some books or magazines of popular psychology. To promote a scientific approach to stress in sport it is necessary a bidirectional transfer of evidences between the laboratory and the field practice and a deeper investigation of stress syndromes and of the contribution made by complementary medicine.

Key words:

science, pseudoscience, non-science, stress, exercise in athletes.

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