Researchers expose flaws of 'sonic attack' study

A study into the health of American diplomats following the 'Havana embassy attacks' is deeply flawed, according to neuroscientists

A formal assessment of American diplomats' cognitive health following the alleged 'sonic attacks' at the US embassy in Havana, has been criticised by neuroscientists from the School of PPLS.

The US report claims that all six embassy staff who completed the full suite of 37 tests had some form of cognitive impairment.

Setting up to fail

Human Cognitive Neuroscience Professor Sergio Della Sala and Senior Lecturer Robert McIntosh ran a simulation, finding that everyone completing the 37 tests of the study would be classed as cognitively impaired since the threshold for failure was set so high.

Sergio Della Sala

Robert McIntosh

Impairments that everybody has

Cognitive tests typically compare people's performance with the rest of the population, where subjects scoring in the bottom 5% might be considered impaired.

In the US study, the bottom 40% were considered impaired, making it impossible to pass the cognitive tests.

The chances that somebody will be without an impairment is zero

Sergio Della SalaProfessor of Psychology at the School of PPLS

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