Journal article: Pornography addiction – a supranormal stimulus....

Discussion in 'Pornography Addiction' started by Gary Wilson, Jul 19, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Gary Wilson

    Gary Wilson Active Member

    The below just came out. Excellent and in alignment with YBOP views.

    PS - There is another "study" in the same issue of this jorunal that claims porn addiction does not exist. It will be getting a lot of press, very soon. Here is a description on Psychology Today -

    Please see my comments, and the comments of John Johnson, who is an expert in evaluating Psychology studies

    It's from Nicole Prause and her SPAN lab team. These two links cover some of our interactions with her.

    She has twice threatened us with lawsuits. I don't no what she said to the editor of Psychology Today, but they do not want us to respond to her study or the above post. We will still post about it - on YBOP and other places. The study is a joke, yet you will read claims by Prause claiming it's ground breaking. The spin machine is in high gear on this one.

    Pornography addiction – a supranormal stimulus considered in the context of neuroplasticity


    Donald L. Hilton Jr., MD*

    Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, USA


    Addiction has been a divisive term when applied to various compulsive sexual behaviors (CSBs), including obsessive use of pornography. Despite a growing acceptance of the existence of natural or process addictions based on an increased understanding of the function of the mesolimbic dopaminergic reward systems, there has been a reticence to label CSBs as potentially addictive. While pathological gambling (PG) and obesity have received greater attention in functional and behavioral studies, evidence increasingly supports the description of CSBs as an addiction. This evidence is multifaceted and is based on an evolving understanding of the role of the neuronal receptor in addiction-related neuroplasticity, supported by the historical behavioral perspective. This addictive effect may be amplified by the accelerated novelty and the ‘supranormal stimulus’ (a phrase coined by Nikolaas Tinbergen) factor afforded by Internet pornography.

    Keywords: brain; addiction; pornography; neuroplasticity; sexuality

    Received: 4 March 2013; Revised: 1 June 2013; Accepted: 1 June 2013; Published: 19 July 2013

    Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 2013. © 2013 Donald L. Hilton. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) Licence (, permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

    Citation: Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology 2013, 3: 20767 -
  2. RealScience

    RealScience New Member

    Except that Garnia are complete frauds, as shown by their strong objections to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

    They were SCHOOLED!!! Ha! Gotta love how they point fingers at others for exactly what THEY are doing. That's right, you tried to bully journalists into hiding the real story, they refused, and you threatened to sue. How small IS your penis Gary? Letting wifey take care of things for you?
  3. ppycat

    ppycat Guest

    A "scientist" making statements about one's penis size... I know enough about your work.
  4. Gary Wilson

    Gary Wilson Active Member

    Variations of this comment were posted several places yesterday by "RealScience" (or RealScientist"). Of course, this post like the others makes no sense, and has nothing to do with our back and forth with the CBC.

    "RealScience" sounds exactly like Nicole Prause. Miss Prause is the head of UCLA SPAN lab and has been harassing me ever since we wrote a rebuttal of one of her studies. You can see our analysis here. Nothing Correlates With Nothing In SPAN Lab's New Porn Study (2013)

    UPDATE - A peer-reviewed rebuttal of the SPAN Lab paper. ‘Highdesire’, or ‘merely’ an addiction? A response to Steele et al., by Donald L. Hilton, Jr., MD*

    UPDATE (5/30/14): You can read much of the documented history of the harassment and cyberstalking in this post -

    I felt compelled to post these details when a troll with 4 user names posted about 100 times in a 3 hour period - defending the above SPAN Lab study, while simultaneously attacking the first ever fMRI brain study on porn users - which was published the previous day. The troll possessed extraordinary knowledge about the SPAN lab study, and made false accusations about my critique, in addition to several personal attacks. Eventually the troll deleted nearly all of her posts, but you can gather a lot from my comments, and comments by other YBR members.


    I am not her sole target, as anyone who points out the flagrant flaws in her work receives similar treatment. For example, senior psychology professor John A. Johnson also dared to state that she misrepresented her findings -

    She wrote him nasty emails, and posted insulting "anonymous" comments under his blog post -

    Prause doesn't like that I exposed that she misrepresented her findings, and that the study contained serious flaws in methodology. This is the same single study that she claimed dismantled the concepts of porn & sex addiction. You can follow this link and see that she threatened me and Psychology Today. My post was eventually removed. (scroll down to Psychology Today and Nicole Prause and then Prause-Wilson email exchange)

    Prause also forced Psychology Today to remove a second post about her deceptive study, Misinformed Media Touts Bogus Sex Addiction Study, by Robert Weiss, LCSW & Stefanie Carnes PhD

    Prause has never taken on the substance of our concerns directly because she knows we accurately described her misrepresentations of the data, and the study's litany of flaws.

    Instead, Prause has waged a campaign against several of us behind the scenes. She officially outed herself when she posted the same libelous attacks of me (word for word) on the UCLA SPAN lab she administers. UCLA officials intervened and forced her to remove the inaccurate material. You can see a screen shot of the PDF that she had placed on her SPAN lab website here.

    The PDF contains several instances of libel, and confirmed what we had known all along - that she was behind all the many "anonymous" comments all over the web, which started 2 days after I published the above-mentioned critique.

    In addition to having all bloggers' posts criticizing her work removed from "Psychology Today" by threatening "Psychology Today's" editor, she has:

    1- threatened us twice with groundless law suits,
    2- lied publicly about my (albeit modest) credentials and education,
    3- placed redirects on my IP address,
    4- falsely accused me of putting her picture on a porn site (YBOP),
    5- posted comments wherever my name appeared,
    6- forced TED to close comments on my TEDx talk due to her hate speech...among other unsportsmanlike conduct.

    This is your "RealScientist," folks. It never has crossed our minds to sue the CBC, but Prause may well get herself sued over the libel she is engaging in.

    On to what really occurred with the CBC

    We simply wrote the CBC to make it clear that they broke a promise, and had not covered the real story (the one they used as a pretext to get me to agree to be interviewed): thousands of young men recovering from severe porn-related symptoms. RealScience is lying as RealScience always does (under whatever username she invents).

    A bit more background on the CBC show. At the outset I refused to be on the show. We asked the producer to invite a spokesman from ASAM, whose president was Canadian, or neurosurgeon and journal author Donald Hilton, or Dr. Laier from Germany discuss the science behind behavioral addictions. The reason? We suspected the producers might do what they eventually did - claim we didn't have the right credentials as a way of negating the concept of Internet porn addiction. Below is our my first email response to Santur's invitation.

    I am happy to speak with you and offer you my experience based on tracking the self-reports of thousands of guys on various forums (such as these: It's ominous that guys who started youngest with highspeed are needing longer to establish normal sexual functioning after they quit porn due to developing sexual performance problems (all discussed in the above presentation). However, I am not a doctor or professor, so I would not make a good spokesperson for your documentary.

    In addition to the contact ideas Marnia gave you (ASAM and Brand's team in Germany), I would recommend a neurosurgeon who thoroughly understands the addiction aspect of Internet porn. His name is Donald L. Hilton. You can see him delivering a short talk for parents/kids here:

    As you can see, we offered medical doctors from ASAM, addiction researchers from Germany, and neurosurgeon Donald Hilton. As explained in our original emails and our letter to the CBC, I was concerned that they would paint Internet porn addiction as "Gary's hypothesis," rather than as valid science by real addiction experts.

    The undisputed result is that Santur refused to contact any of the various experts we suggested. He also did exactly what we suspected he might. He created the impression that sexual behavior addictions are a fiction by pointing to our lack of credentials, and he did not air my rebuttal to David Ley (which he had elicited during our interview in violation of our earlier agreement).

    What's missing in the CBC link are the several email exchanges with CBC. Below is the first of our back-and-forths, which illuminates our concerns.

    To: ""

    I would like to complain about Hassan Ghedi Santur's treatment of my husband Gary Wilson in connection with the program named above.

    When Mr. Santur contacted us, we explained that Gary does not have the "right" credentials to speak on national public radio about addiction, even though his knowledge of it is quite deep because he has been studying it for so many years. We referred Mr. Santur to an MD who writes journal articles about internet pornography addiction (Pornography addiction - a supranormal stimulus considered in the context of neuroplasticity | Hilton | Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology).

    Mr. Santur pressed Gary to allow him to interview him, promising to stick to inquiring about what young men today are reporting in terms of porn-related symptoms and their recovery experiences after giving up porn. On that basis, and because we had heard good things about your program, Gary agreed.

    Mr. Santur then slipped in some questions about addiction during the interview, which Gary answered, assuming they were only for Mr. Santur's personal benefit.

    When the program aired, the sole segment featuring my husband was my husband's brief comments explaining addiction, in direct contravention of Mr. Santur's promise. Not only that, Mr. Santur went out of his way to point out that we don't have the right credentials to be speaking about such subjects. Nor did he include any of Gary's recorded remarks rebutting the mischaracterizations of his remarks by psychologist David Ley. In short, Mr. Santur produced the very hatchet job we had obtained his word he would not create. Perhaps this passes for good journalism in Canada?

    Meanwhile, the critically important story that thousands of young men are healing severe symptoms (social anxiety, depression, sexual performance problems, conditioning to bizarre fetish porn, concentration problems) from giving up internet porn--which is the sole subject my husband had agreed to speak about because it is the subject of his website untold.

    Mr. Santur also didn't point out that my husband's TEDx talk on this subject has received 1.5+ million hits -- presumably due to widespread concern about porn-related problems among today's users. However, Mr. Santur made much of Ms. Gallop's mere half million hits for her voyeur-based website. The implication is that if young people see "real" sex on the Internet they won't screw up their sexuality due to "unrealistic" porn. Alas, we've heard from many who ended up with problems by watching only "vanilla" porn or even multiple stills. Internet porn appears to be a problem due to delivery even more than content.

    Nor did Mr. Santur point out that Cambridge University has just conducted the first brain studies of self-identified porn addicts and the research shows that Gary's explanation of behavioral addiction in relation to porn is exactly correct (and his critic David Ley incorrect). Pornography addiction leads to same brain activity as alcoholism or drug abuse, study shows - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent

    Nor did Mr. Santur even get the number of recovering users on NoFap reddit close to right. They number almost 80K, not 30K.

    We have no idea who put Mr. Santur up to this deceptive effort, but we want to call to your attention his deliberate dishonesty and biased reporting.

    Best wishes,
    Marnia Robinson
  5. Fencepost

    Fencepost Member

    We had a very interesting exchange behind the scenes with the Canadian Broadcasting Company. As long as this topic is under discussion, I'd like to share with forum members part of what I wrote to them. If you want to listen to the show itself, here's the link:

    My comments to the CBC:
    Upon reflection, "Generation Porn" was not only disturbing because of Mr. Santur's deception of us personally. It was also disturbing because the program was apparently a misinformation effort rather than a coherent "potpourri" of commentary about today's porn and its effects on "generation porn." I'll explain.

    For the same six years that my husband Gary and I have been monitoring thousands of self-reports of men detailing porn-related problems--and recovering from them after quitting porn--I have also been a member of an academic listserve called Sexnet, hosted by a professor at Northwestern University. Among its members are a very single-minded group of sexologists (mostly Canadian and US) who are determined to minimize and dismiss internet porn-related problems. They are well connected to the press and seem to have little trouble promoting whatever agenda they devise, while causing information with which they disagree to be suppressed.

    An example of the latter would be suppressing the information about the new Cambridge study ( It has (finally) isolated and scanned the brains of porn addicts watching porn cues, compared them with controls, and found essentially the same evidence of addiction seen in the brains of substance addicts, but it has yet to be reported in the United States mainstream press and received only very limited coverage in Canada. Mr. Santur was aware of this study, because I sent a write-up about it to him well before his program aired. The show's intro even included a bit of information from the same write-up, namely a statistic from an East London University questionnaire study, which found that 23% of male teens said they had tried to quit porn and couldn't. This tidbit gets at the problem, but not at the solution, because it ignores the scientific findings about the cause (addiction-related brain changes revealed by the Cambridge study).

    Back to the faction of sexologists. It's good to have lots of viewpoints on any thorny issue, theirs included. The reason I found your program disturbing is that it so closely adhered to the key talking points that I see these sexologists consistently emphasize in their press efforts. More important, the program also omitted or dismissed the content these sexologists consistently minimize or dismiss.
    In short, "Generation Porn" was anything but a random, or even coherent, collection of information about porn's effects, although it would certainly have sounded that way to casual listeners. In actuality, the program was a carefully crafted piece of propaganda, which employed well established tactics:

    1. It was dismissive of all relevant hard science about addiction and how supernormal stimuli such as internet porn can rewire the brain. As already pointed out, Mr. Santur refused to invite a credentialed science spokesperson. But he also executed this tactic by excluding most of the careful explanation Gary actually gave him when asked about addiction. Gary explained what the general public does not yet understand: All addictions, behavioral and chemical, share the same fundamental brain changes, right down to the molecular switches that trigger them. In fact, all hijack the mechanisms of the brain that evolved to condition mammals to sex. (See Natural Rewards, Neuroplasticity, and Non-Drug Addictions Christopher M. Olsen, Ph.D., a professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin in the Neuroscience Research Center and Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.) This means that behavioral addictions are just as real, physiologically speaking, as substance addictions. One would think that this would be an interesting "Idea" in itself, but Mr. Santur and his team carefully sidestepped it (and went to further pains to dismiss Gary as unqualified to discuss the subject). This is precisely the tactic I see used by those on the listserve.

    2. Mr. Santur's program prominently featured the mischaracterizations of David Ley, a loyal member of the aforementioned clique. Dr. Ley is the author of The Myth of Sex Addiction. He admits, however, that he has no background in the neuroscience of addiction. How can he be the right person to critique substantive remarks about the science of addiction, unless the intent was to mislead the public by allowing him to "spin" the information to fit the clique's (dismissive) agenda? Dr. Ley's other favorite talking point, by the way, is that "Any discussion of the addictiveness of porn is an attack on gay people" ( Huh? On the forums we monitor, gays and lesbians are reporting the same severe porn-related problems as young straight users.

    3. The program also featured a third tactic preferred by this clique. It completely ignored the thousands of porn users across the web who are quitting porn and seeing astonishing improvements. Instead, it focused on Isaac Abel's lone, sad, unresolved tale. In fact, on just 3 of the forums we monitor, there are some 100,000 forum members, most of them young, experimenting with quitting porn. The majority are motivated by sexual performance problems, discovered only when they try to have sex as young adults after perhaps 8 years of highspeed porn use. Who would have dreamed that today's "porn-positive" culture could produce such "sex-negative" results?

    In their interview, Gary told Mr. Santur about these forum members' experiences (much as he did on this popular PhD's show, but Mr. Santur ignored this mass phenomenon entirely, in favor of using a few of Gary's remarks as a foil for dismissing the relevant addiction neuroscience. With all due respect to Mr. Santur and his supervisor Mr. Young, one would think that the "Idea" that thousands of (mostly) young people are overcoming severe porn-related symptoms would be of interest to most audience members tuned into a program about "generation porn."

    4. This brings us to a fourth familiar tactic evidenced in the show: normalizing porn. The sexology clique adheres to the theory that" People only develop porn-related problems because porn isn't mainstream enough; it's hidden." I know of no scientific support for this theory. Certainly, "forbidden" stimuli become more compelling, but never has so much porn been so openly available to so many youthful users. Their problems should be disappearing rapidly, not increasing and becoming more severe. Nevertheless, "Generation Porn" was crafted according to the make-porn-mainstream tenet of the clique's views. As one of your listeners pointed out in the comments under the program, the audience was treated to porn sound tracks, such as a woman gagging on two penises, etc.

    The more "pornified" and distracted listeners are, the less clearly they think about the issues raised in the program. Incidentally, when men who are recovering from porn-related problems listened to your show, some had to turn it off as too triggering, so including hardcore porn is also an unfortunate form of "artistic license."

    5. Perhaps the most classic tactic the program employed was to spend an inordinate amount of the hour on Cindy Gallop's "real sex" concept. This is a variation of the well honed "porn literacy" tactic the sexology clique endorses. It holds that if videos of real sex are on the web, young people won't have any interest in watching porn with unrealistic behaviors such as ejaculation on women's faces. (Something Cindy Gallop apparently doesn't like.) There is not one shred of scientific evidence to back up this "porn literacy" talking point (in contrast with the dozens of existing Internet addiction brain studies, which build on decades of detailed neurobiology research on behavioral and chemical addiction). Moreover, research on teen brains shows that teens crave novelty. They also like shocking their peers with bizarre visuals. How realistic is it to expect that they will automatically choose Grandma Gallop's videos just because she thinks they would be a better choice?

    Even if kids only watch realistic sex videos from age 10 onward, they still risk wiring their sexual response to pixels, a voyeur's perspective, their unique masturbation style, clicking to novel excitement at will, being alone, and so forth. They're not learning the courtship skills, exchange of touch, eye contact and conversation dexterity for which adolescence evolved.

    In any case, the "porn literacy" talking point's goal is not to aid users. It's to keep the public focused on an irreconcilable debate about what constitutes "realistic" versus "unrealistic" video sex. This cleverly distracts us all from addressing the actual symptoms that internet porn users are reporting, and the science behind their symptoms (and recoveries).

    In short, in its brief hour, the "Generation Porn" program emphasized many of the sexology clique's prime talking points, without really exploring the relevance of the neuroscience of addiction (and sexual conditioning) and without telling the stories of the recoveries of thousands of severely affected ex-porn users across the Web. This is disturbing. It calls into question the objectivity of Mr. Young and his staff, at least when it comes to the subject of internet porn. It also suggests that their strings were being pulled by the clique of sexologists who see it as their mission to mold public opinion without the public being aware of it.

    I merely pass this along, so that CBC staff are aware of what occurred here. If the fate of "generation porn" is of interest to the public, it seems the subject would also be worthy of objective treatment.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page