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Comments on neurobiology, neuroimaging, and psychiatry from a skeptical neuroscientist.

Neuroskeptic
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  • September 18, 2014
  • 04:09 PM
  • 38 views

Coffee Drinkers Have Trouble Talking About Emotions?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

People who drink a lot of coffee – and other caffeinated beverages – find it more difficult to identify and describe their own emotions. This is the claim of a new study, published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, from Australian researchers Michael Lyvers and colleagues: Caffeine use and alexithymia in university students. “Alexithymia” – […]The post Coffee Drinkers Have Trouble Talking About Emotions? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Lyvers M, Duric N, & Thorberg FA. (2014) Caffeine use and alexithymia in university students. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 46(4), 340-6. PMID: 25188705  

  • September 6, 2014
  • 06:26 AM
  • 120 views

“Cyranoids”: Stanley Milgram’s Creepiest Experiment

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Imagine that someone else was controlling your actions. You would still look like you, and sound like you, but you wouldn’t be the one deciding what you did and what you said. Now consider: would anyone notice the difference? In this nightmarish scenario, you would be a “cyranoid” – in the terminology introduced by psychologist […]The post “Cyranoids”: Stanley Milgram’s Creepiest Experiment appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • September 3, 2014
  • 02:55 PM
  • 10 views

Compulsive Poetry In Epilepsy

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The case of a woman who began compulsively writing poems after being treated for epilepsy offers a rare glimpse into the ‘inner’ dimension of a neurological disorder. Here’s the paper in Neurocase from British neurologists Woollacott and colleagues. The story in a nutshell: the patient, age 76, had been suffering from memory lapses and episodic […]The post Compulsive Poetry In Epilepsy appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Woollacott IO, Fletcher PD, Massey LA, Pasupathy A, Rossor MN, Caine D, Rohrer JD, & Warren JD. (2014) Compulsive versifying after treatment of transient epileptic amnesia. Neurocase, 1-6. PMID: 25157425  

  • August 30, 2014
  • 08:12 AM
  • 107 views

The Myth Of “Roid Rage”?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Are men who inject testosterone and other anabolic steroids at risk of entering a violent “roid rage“? Many people think so. Whenever a professional athlete commits a violent crime, it’s not long before someone suggests that steroids may have been involved. The most recent example of this is the case of Jonathan “War Machine” Koppenhaver. […]The post The Myth Of “Roid Rage”? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • August 27, 2014
  • 07:35 PM
  • 139 views

(False?) Positive Psychology Meets Genomics

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Academic bunfight ahoy! A new paper from Nick Brown – famed debunker of the “Positivity Ratio” – and his colleagues, takes aim at another piece of research on feel-good emotions. The target is a 2013 paper published in PNAS from positive psychology leader Barbara Fredrickson and colleagues: A functional genomic perspective on human well-being. The […]The post (False?) Positive Psychology Meets Genomics appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Brown, N., MacDonald, D., Samanta, M., Friedman, H., & Coyne, J. (2014) A critical reanalysis of the relationship between genomics and well-being. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1407057111  

  • August 9, 2014
  • 12:46 PM
  • 168 views

Terminal Lucidity: Myth, Mystery or Miracle?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Can sick people gain mental clarity just before they die? University of Virginia researchers Michael Nahm and Bruce Greyson explore this issue in a gripping (if macabre) paper published in the journal Omega: The death of Anna Katharina Ehmer: a case study in terminal lucidity.The authors discuss the case of Anna Katharina Ehmer, a German […]The post Terminal Lucidity: Myth, Mystery or Miracle? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • August 7, 2014
  • 08:00 PM
  • 184 views

Do Narcissists Know They’re Narcissists?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

According to a provocative paper just published, it’s possible to accurately determine how narcissistic someone is by asking them just one thing. Here’s the question in full: To what extent do you agree with this statement: I am a narcissist? (Note: The word ‘narcissist’ means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.) Answer on a scale from 1 […]The post Do Narcissists Know They’re Narcissists? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • August 4, 2014
  • 06:05 PM
  • 156 views

Do Sciences and Humanities Students’ Brains Differ?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Scholars on both sides of the science-humanities divide have been known to feel that their counterparts just don’t think in the same way. But could it be that their brains are actually different? Yes, it could, say Japanese neuroscientists Hikaru Takeuchi and colleagues, who have just published a paper about Brain structures in the sciences […]The post Do Sciences and Humanities Students’ Brains Differ? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Takeuchi H, Taki Y, Sekiguchi A, Nouchi R, Kotozaki Y, Nakagawa S, Miyauchi CM, Iizuka K, Yokoyama R, Shinada T.... (2014) Brain structures in the sciences and humanities. Brain structure . PMID: 25079346  

  • July 31, 2014
  • 05:26 PM
  • 154 views

Functional Neuroimaging’s Neymar Problem

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

As a “World Cup tie in post” this one’s a bit late, but here’s a story that’s been getting a lot of attention: According to scientists, Neymar uses instinct and not his brain when playing football Yes, if you believe the headlines, research has shown that legendary Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva Santos is so […]The post Functional Neuroimaging’s Neymar Problem appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Eiichi Naito, & Satoshi Hirose. (2014) Efficient foot motor control by Neymar’s brain. Front. Hum. Neurosci. info:/

  • July 25, 2014
  • 11:12 AM
  • 206 views

Spotted at last: “Homo economicus”?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Are we selfish? Economists like to say that, to a first approximation, we are. In other words, that we tend to seek to maximize our own rewards, in a more or less rational manner. The trouble is that this theory (at least, a straightforward interpretation of it) doesn’t describe how people behave in many situations. […]The post Spotted at last: “Homo economicus”? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Yamagishi T, Li Y, Takagishi H, Matsumoto Y, & Kiyonari T. (2014) In Search of Homo economicus. Psychological science. PMID: 25037961  

  • July 23, 2014
  • 01:13 PM
  • 212 views

Preregistration for All Medical Animal Research

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Writing in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, three Dutch researchers say that All preclinical trials should be registered in advance in an online registry Citing the fact that all clinical trials are (in theory) already registered, authors Jansen of Lorkeers et al say that the system should be extended to cover preclinical medical research, […]The post Preregistration for All Medical Animal Research appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Jansen of Lorkeers, S., Doevendans, P., & Chamuleau, S. (2014) All preclinical trials should be registered in advance in an online registry. European Journal of Clinical Investigation. DOI: 10.1111/eci.12299  

  • July 20, 2014
  • 03:43 PM
  • 156 views

Babylonian Neurology and Psychiatry

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A fascinating little paper in Brain examines Neurology and psychiatry in Babylon. It’s a collaboration by British neurologist Edward H. Reynolds and Assyriologist James V. Kinnier Wilson. The sources they discuss are almost 4,000 years old, dating to the Old Babylonian Dynasty of 1894 – 1595 BC. Writing in cuneiform script impressed into clay tablets, […]The post Babylonian Neurology and Psychiatry appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Reynolds EH, & Kinnier Wilson JV. (2014) Neurology and psychiatry in Babylon. Brain : a journal of neurology. PMID: 25037816  

  • July 14, 2014
  • 02:48 PM
  • 185 views

Can We Grasp The Brain’s Complexity?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

An entertaining paper just out in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience offers a panoramic view of the whole of neuroscience: Enlarging the scope: grasping brain complexity The paper is remarkable not just for its content but also for its style. Some examples: How does the brain work? This nagging question is an habitué from the top […]The post Can We Grasp The Brain’s Complexity? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Tognoli E, & Kelso JA. (2014) Enlarging the scope: grasping brain complexity. Frontiers in systems neuroscience, 122. PMID: 25009476  

  • July 6, 2014
  • 02:13 PM
  • 196 views

fMRI Motion Correction: The Quick and the Dead

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The infamous dead salmon brain scan study may just have been eclipsed, in the ‘most ghoulish demonstration of a methodological pitfall in fMRI‘ stakes. A new study examines the issue of motion artifacts, a major concern in much neuroimaging research – and it does so by scanning dead people. The new paper has the unwieldy […]The post fMRI Motion Correction: The Quick and the Dead appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • July 1, 2014
  • 04:47 AM
  • 179 views

Is It Time To Redraw the Map of the Brain?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A provocative and important paper just out claims to have identified a pervasive flaw in many attempts to map the function of the human brain. University College London (UCL) neuroscientists Yee-Haur Mah and colleagues say that in the light of their findings, “current inferences about human brain function and deficits based on lesion mapping must […]The post Is It Time To Redraw the Map of the Brain? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • June 29, 2014
  • 06:36 AM
  • 188 views

Another Education Neuromyth Debunked

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

What does neuroscience have to say about the educational value of lectures? Not much, says pedagogist Ken Masters in a lively article just published in Medical Teacher: Nipping an education myth in the bud: Poh’s brain activity during lectures Masters lays into an emerging slice of neurononsense. The claim is that neuroscientists have shown that, […]The post Another Education Neuromyth Debunked appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • June 24, 2014
  • 06:31 AM
  • 176 views

The FDA’s Antidepressant Warning Didn’t Really “Backfire”

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

We read this week that ‘Black Box’ Warning on Antidepressants Raised Suicide Attempts A so-called “black box” warning on antidepressants that the medications increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in kids may have had a horrible side-effect. New research finds the warning backfired, causing an increase in suicide attempts by teens and young […]The post The FDA’s Antidepressant Warning Didn’t Really “Backfire” appeared first on Neuroskept........ Read more »

  • June 21, 2014
  • 05:57 AM
  • 184 views

fMRI: Can MVPA Really Help Crack The Neural Code?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Multivoxel Pattern Analysis (MVPA) is the latest big thing in the neuroimaging world. MVPA is a multivariate statistical technique that can be applied to fMRI brain scan results as an alternative to conventional univariate methods of finding brain activation. Neuroscientists love MVPA for two reasons: first, it offers more ‘blobs for your buck’ – it […]The post fMRI: Can MVPA Really Help Crack The Neural Code? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • June 10, 2014
  • 04:54 PM
  • 221 views

America’s Most Depressing Jobs?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

An interesting study just published examines the rates of clinical depression experienced by workers in different jobs. It turns out that people involved in ‘Local and Interurban Passenger Transport’ are most likely to be treated for depression. By contrast, those employed in ‘Amusement and Recreational Services’ are less than half as likely to experience it […]The post America’s Most Depressing Jobs? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Wulsin L, Alterman T, Timothy Bushnell P, Li J, & Shen R. (2014) Prevalence rates for depression by industry: a claims database analysis. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology. PMID: 24907896  

  • June 9, 2014
  • 05:15 PM
  • 249 views

Tracking Conscious Perception in Real-Time With fMRI?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

What if it were possible to measure your conscious experience, in real time, using a brain scanner? Neuroscientists Christoph Reichert and colleagues report that they have done just this, using fMRI – although in a limited fashion. Their research has just been published in Frontiers in Neuroscience: Online tracking of the contents of conscious perception […]The post Tracking Conscious Perception in Real-Time With fMRI? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Reichert C, Fendrich R, Bernarding J, Tempelmann C, Hinrichs H, & Rieger JW. (2014) Online tracking of the contents of conscious perception using real-time fMRI. Frontiers in neuroscience, 116. PMID: 24904260  

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