Chapman’s Nocebo Of Wind Turbines

November, 2021

Chapman’s claims of nocebo of wind turbines have presented several “facts” to support his claims.

One of Chapman’s “facts” as to Nocebo of wind turbines relates to infrasound and in particular reliance on Fiona Crichton’s work on infrasound and sham infrasound (no sound).

The matter of what constitutes “wind turbine infrasound” has been part of Cooper’s (unfunded) investigations since the release of the Cape Bridgewater study report.  

In 2019 Cooper presented a paper on synthesised wind turbine noise versus actual wind turbine noise used for subjective evaluation purposes (paper 71 at the ICA conference).  Paper 71 and the slides for that paper are attached so that you can follow the nocebo trail.

In section 3.1 (of paper 71) Cooper refers to two Crichton published papers “Can Expectations Produce Symptoms from Infrasound Associated with Wind Turbines? and “The Power of Positive and Negative Expectations to Influence Reported Symptoms and Mood During Exposure to Wind Farm Sound”.

In the first Crichton paper the “infrasound” signal was identified as 40 dB at 5 Hz, whilst in the second paper the “infrasound” was identified as a signal of 50.4 dB at 9 Hz. See slide 6 and slide 7 (for paper 71) to verify the two “infrasound” signals in the titles of the papers have been identified as “Infrasound associated with Wind Turbines”.  

Cooper identified in Section 3.1 (of paper 71) that the infrasound signature obtained by narrow band analysis (shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3 in paper 71) does not agree with the Crichton “infrasound”. On slide 8 (for paper 71) Cooper overlays Crichton’s 5Hz tone over the indoor and outdoor spectrums reported from the Shirley wind farm report. Slide 8 also superimposes the speaker manufacturer’s frequency response that in turn raises questions as to whether the “infrasound” signal was actually produced.

Slide 8 also identifies a relevant question as to the “audible wind farm signal” used by Crichton – whether she used an external signal (the green trace) or an internal signal (purple trace).

When one considers the “infrasound” signal for turbines is not a constant tone, but when viewed over time is a signal that varies up and down, then the Crichton “wind farm infrasound” as a constant signal cannot be infrasound associated with wind turbines.

So are the Crichton papers really a nocebo of a nocebo. That is ,the Crichton study is a con from the outset. The obvious answer to the question of wind turbine infrasound must be no impact when one doesn’t even use actual wind turbine infrasound.

Section 3.2 of the Cooper paper refers to a synthesised analysis of wind turbine noise undertaken by Walker (one of the authors of the Shirley Wind Farm Report) of Figure 55 of Cooper’s Cape Bridgewater study, with Walker presenting a synthesised time signal (Figure 4 in paper 71) of Cooper’s averaged frequency signal.    But on slide 9 (for paper 71) Cooper presents a section of the original time signal used to produce the frequency spectrum in Figure 55 of the Cape Bridgewater study. They are not the same.

Rather than use actual wind turbine noise, Walker has presented several papers using his synthesised time signal to obtain an infrasound signal used for subjective testing, and surprise, surprise, he finds for his test subjects no real response when adding in his synthesised infrasound. The Crichton outcome when one doesn’t use the actual wind turbine infrasound noise?

Section 3.3 of Cooper’s paper then identifies Tonin conducted a study similar to Crichton but using a Walker synthesised signal to evaluate the effect of infrasound (see slide 9 for paper 71). Tonin’s time signal of his infrasound signal is shown in slide 11.

In slide 12 is a comparison of Cooper’s frequency and portion of time signal corresponding to Cooper’s Figure 55 time signal with Tonin’s results of his synthesised signal.  This comparison shows Tonin’s work is literally following Crichton’s work of not using actual wind farm noise but using simulated infrasound to obtain a foregone conclusion to “support the nocebo effect hypothesis” as stated in the last sentence of the abstract (slide 9).   

When one considers that the NHMRC provided funds (more than $1,000,000) to a group including Tonin, to investigate synthesised infrasound as part of the NHMRC’s independent assessment of wind turbine noise that will achieve a forgone conclusion, then the extent of Chapman’s false nocebo claim becomes even more important.

Now considering the above, go back to the Cooper paper and read the conclusion, one finds the starting point in relation to the “windfarm infrasound” debate leading to his further research relating the cause and effect of wind turbine noise presented in Europe.  

De Frock understands Cooper’s two peer reviewed articles  (published in Acoustics in 2020 and 2021)have exposed several critical errors in assessing wind turbine noise.  We eagerly await the promised third article in Acoustics that links all his work together.

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