July 29, 2014

WADA Funds False Consensus Effect Study to Catch Dopers

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) spends considerable money funding research aimed at catching athletes who use prohibited performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). WADA has always been on the losing end of an ongoing cat-and-mouse game. Anti-doping agencies are faced with several emerging doping methods such as synthetic blood doping, gene doping and designer steroids created via dynamic combinatorial chemistry (DCC).

A recently published study in the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology suggests that WADA has opened the door to social analysis and psychological profiling to catch steroids users and users of other banned substances. The WADA-funded researchers hope to establish a reliable indicator of self-reported use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The proposed anti-doping tool would ask the athlete various questions about their own self-reported doping, hypothetical doping scenarios, and the doping behavior of other athletes. If the athlete’s responses to the questionnaire fit the psychological profile of a doper, then this might represent evidence that athlete is doping even if the athlete does not admit to doping! The research is based on the False Consensus Effect from social psychology research.

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