142 posts · 44,453 views
Comments on neurobiology, neuroimaging, and psychiatry from a skeptical neuroscientist.
The words you use in your Facebook profile reveal much about your personality, according to psychologists Gregory Park and colleagues in a new study just published. Based on a study of 71,000 Facebook users who reported their personality using an app, Park et al. found some quite unexpected words to be associated with given personality […]The post How Your Facebook Updates Reveal Your Personality appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Park G, Schwartz HA, Eichstaedt JC, Kern ML, Kosinski M, Stillwell DJ, Ungar LH, & Seligman ME. (2014) Automatic Personality Assessment Through Social Media Language. Journal of personality and social psychology. PMID: 25365036
New research on the neural basis of ‘spontaneous’ actions in rats could shed light on the philosophical mystery that is human ‘free will’. The study, just published in Nature Neuroscience, is called Neural antecedents of self-initiated actions in secondary motor cortex. It’s from researchers Masayoshi Murakami and colleagues of Portugal’s excellently-named Champalimaud Centre for the […]The post Do Rats Have Free Will? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Murakami M, Vicente MI, Costa GM, & Mainen ZF. (2014) Neural antecedents of self-initiated actions in secondary motor cortex. Nature neuroscience, 17(11), 1574-82. PMID: 25262496
A popular neuroscience tool, diffusion MRI tractography, may fundamentally have limited accuracy. That’s according to a paper just published in PNAS: Anatomical accuracy of brain connections derived from diffusion MRI tractography is inherently limited The authors, Cibu Thomas and colleagues of Bethesda, Maryland, begin by explaining why diffusion MRI is so widely used The creation […]The post The Inherent Limits of MRI Tractography? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Thomas C, Ye FQ, Irfanoglu MO, Modi P, Saleem KS, Leopold DA, & Pierpaoli C. (2014) Anatomical accuracy of brain connections derived from diffusion MRI tractography is inherently limited. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25368179
A new paper threatens to turn the world of autism neuroscience upside down. Its title is Anatomical Abnormalities in Autism?, and it claims that, well, there aren’t very many. Published in Cerebral Cortex by Israeli researchers Shlomi Haar and colleagues, the new research reports that there are virtually no differences in brain anatomy between people […]The post Most Autistic People Have Normal Brain Anatomy appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
When it comes to emails, power makes people spend less time thinking and more time typing. So say German cyber-psychologists Annika Scholl and Kai Sassenberg in a new paper just published: Experienced Social Power Reduces Deliberation During E-Mail Communication In their study, they recruited 49 undergraduate students. Each participant was first randomly assigned to play […]The post Power Makes People Deliberate Less Over Emails appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Scholl A, & Sassenberg K. (2014) "While You Still Think, I Already Type": Experienced Social Power Reduces Deliberation During E-Mail Communication. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. PMID: 25286277
In December last year, researchers Brian Dias and Kerry Ressler made a splash with a paper seeming to show that memories can be inherited. This article, published in Nature Neuroscience, reported that if adult mice are taught to be afraid of a particular smell, then their children will also fear it. Which is pretty wild. […]The post Inherited Memories: Too Good To Be True? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Francis G. (2014) Too much success for recent groundbreaking epigenetic experiments. Genetics, 198(2), 449-51. PMID: 25316784
“Emodiversity” – a life containing a balance of different emotions – is good for you. So say psychologists Jordi Quoidbach and colleagues in a rather cool new paper (pdf). In two large surveys (with a total of over 37,000 responders), conducted in France and Belgium, Quoidbach et al. show that emodiversity is an independent predictor […]The post Emodiversity: A Mix of Emotions Is Healthiest? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Citations are today the international currency of the scholarly economy. In theory, academic citations are the gold standard measure of the ‘impact‘ of a piece of work. If it gets other academics talking then it’s important. But why do individual academics cite particular articles? A paper out now in the Social Studies of Science journal […]The post What Really Drives Academic Citations? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
According to a Japanese case report, a man developed a fetish for women’s underwear due to decreased brain blood flow. Here’s how neuropsychiatrists Koji Masuda and colleagues describe the patient: A 24-year-old male patient who was arrested for stealing underwear and referred to our hospital for evaluation. The patient had stolen women’s underwear on multiple […]The post The Underwear Fetish Brain? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Koji Masuda, Yoshinobu Ishitobi, Yoshihiro Tanaka, & Jotao Akiyoshi. (2014) Underwear fetishism induced by bilaterally decreased cerebral bloodflow in the temporo-occipital lobe. BMJ Case Rep. info:/
Have you ever heard someone describe a task as being so easy that they ‘could do it in their sleep’? A fascinating new study from a team of French neuroscientists shows that this statement may be literally true, far more often than you’d think: Inducing Task-Relevant Responses to Speech in the Sleeping Brain Sid Kouider […]The post Sleeping Brains Understand Words appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Kouider S, Andrillon T, Barbosa LS, Goupil L, & Bekinschtein TA. (2014) Inducing task-relevant responses to speech in the sleeping brain. Current Biology, 24(18), 2208-14. PMID: 25220055
People with Alzheimer’s disease can experience severe memory impairments.However, according to a new study, the emotions associated with events can persist long after the events themselves have been forgotten: Feelings Without Memory in Alzheimer Disease In their paper, the researchers, University of Iowa neurologists Edmarie Guzman-Velez and colleagues, showed volunteers a series of emotional video […]The post The Memory Fades, The Emotion Remains appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Last week I gave a talk in Brazil called Why Is It So Hard To Think About The Brain?, Well, no sooner have I returned than a story appeared that illustrates my point all too well. A neuroscience paper made headlines around the world on Friday. Here’s Time‘s take: One Dose of Antidepressant Changes the […]The post Warning: This Post Will Change Your Brain appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Schaefer, A., Burmann, I., Regenthal, R., Arélin, K., Barth, C., Pampel, A., Villringer, A., Margulies, D., & Sacher, J. (2014) Serotonergic Modulation of Intrinsic Functional Connectivity. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.08.024
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
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 »
Corti K, & Gillespie A. (2014) Revisiting Milgram's Cyranoid Method: Experimenting With Hybrid Human Agents. The Journal of Social Psychology. PMID: 25185802
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
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 »
Lundholm L, Frisell T, Lichtenstein P, & Långström N. (2014) Anabolic androgenic steroids and violent offending: Confounding by polysubstance abuse among 10,365 general population men. Addiction (Abingdon, England). PMID: 25170826
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
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 »
Nahm M, & Greyson B. (2013) The death of Anna Katharina Ehmer: a case study in terminal lucidity. Omega, 68(1), 77-87. PMID: 24547666
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 »
Konrath S, Meier BP, & Bushman BJ. (2014) Development and Validation of the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS). PLoS ONE, 9(8). PMID: 25093508
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 »
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