40 posts · 19,639 views
Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology, University of Oxford, UK. Interested in neurodevelopmental disorders, genetics, language, laterality.
A press release by Yale University Press Office claimed that "A new study of the genetic origins of dyslexia and other learning disabilities could allow for earlier diagnoses and more successful interventions, according to researchers at Yale School of Medicine. Many students now are not diagnosed until high school, at which point treatments are less effective." The account by the Press Office is hard to square with the abstract of the paper, which makes no mention of early diagnosis o........ Read more »
Powers, N., Eicher, J., Butter, F., Kong, Y., Miller, L., Ring, S., Mann, M., & Gruen, J. (2013) Alleles of a Polymorphic ETV6 Binding Site in DCDC2 Confer Risk of Reading and Language Impairment. The American Journal of Human Genetics. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.05.008
What should you do if you run an ANOVA and get a significant result you did not anticipate?
a) Describe this as my main effect of interest, revising my hypothesis to argue for a site-specific sex effect
b) Describe the result as an exploratory finding in need of replication
c) Ignore the result as it was not predicted and is likely to be a false positive
In this post I discuss how unexpected results are very likely to arise by chance, especially in designs with 3 or more factors. The scient........ Read more »
Guest post by Patrick Rabbitt, commenting on an article that claimed that simple reaction time is slower now than in the Victorian era. Mundane differences in equipment sensitivity may be responsible... Read more »
Michael A. Woodley, Jan te Nijenhuis, & Raegan Murphy. (2013) Were the Victorians cleverer than us? The decline in general intelligence estimated from a meta-analysis of the slowing of simple reaction time. Intelligence. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intell.2013.04.006
I find the numbered (Vancouver) referencing system adopted by many journals very irritating, and I explain why.... Read more »
Clauss, M., Müller, D., & Codron, D. (2013) Source References and the Scientist's Mind-Map: Harvard vs. Vancouver Style. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 44(3), 274-282. DOI: 10.3138/jsp.44.3.005
In a previous blogpost, I criticized a recent paper claiming that playing action video games improved reading in dyslexics. In a series of comments below the blogpost, two of the authors have responded to my criticisms. I thank them for taking the trouble to spell out their views and giving readers the opportunity to see another point of view. I am, however, not persuaded by their arguments, which make two main points. First, that their study was not methodologically weak and so Current Biology ........ Read more »
Ioannidis JP, Pereira TV, & Horwitz RI. (2013) Emergence of large treatment effects from small trials--reply. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 309(8), 768-9. PMID: 23443435
Because it is hard to get a paper published in a high-impact journal, it is often assumed that such papers are of particularly high quality. In practice, however, these journals focus more on newsworthiness of findings than methodological rigour, and, as Tressoldi et al (2013) have shown, their standards of statistical reporting can be low. This point is illustrated by a recent paper in Current Biology entitled "Action video games make dyslexic children read better." This study was ser........ Read more »
According to Lindley and Machin (2012) "It is very clear that the individuals who have done better in terms of wages are those who have acquired higher education qualifications. In turn, the acquisition of higher qualifications has become more skewed towards people from wealthier backgrounds." This issue was highlighted last month when a potential student sued an Oxford college who refused him admission because he did not have sufficient funds to meet their cost of living requirement. ........ Read more »
Lindley, J., & Machin, S. (2012) The Quest for More and More Education: Implications for Social Mobility*. Fiscal Studies, 33(2), 265-286. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5890.2012.00161.x
In 2014, British institutions of Higher Education are to be evaluated in the Research Excellence Framework (REF), an important exercise on which their future funding depends. Academics are currently undergoing scrutiny by their institutions to determine whether their research outputs are good enough to be entered in the REF. Outputs are to be assessed in terms of "‘originality, significance and rigour’, with reference to international research quality standards." Use of jo........ Read more »
Studies comparing people with different genotypes on neuroimaging measures are increasingly popular. Non-replicable results are likely unless researchers are scrupulous about how they conduct and report their research: I suggest some basic ground rules.... Read more »
Scott-Van Zeeland, A., Abrahams, B., Alvarez-Retuerto, A., Sonnenblick, L., Rudie, J., Ghahremani, D., Mumford, J., Poldrack, R., Dapretto, M., Geschwind, D.... (2010) Altered Functional Connectivity in Frontal Lobe Circuits Is Associated with Variation in the Autism Risk Gene CNTNAP2. Science Translational Medicine, 2(56), 56-56. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001344
I discuss a study by Sun et al which claims to have identified genes that are asymmetrically expressed in the brain of 12- to 14-month-old human embryos. I argue that the methods seem to take insufficient account of the possibility of chance fluctuations in the measurements, and the numbers of asymmetries that have been found are not impressive, given the huge number of genes that were investigated.... Read more »
Sun T, Patoine C, Abu-Khalil A, Visvader J, Sum E, Cherry TJ, Orkin SH, Geschwind DH, & Walsh CA. (2005) Early asymmetry of gene transcription in embryonic human left and right cerebral cortex. Science (New York, N.Y.), 308(5729), 1794-8. PMID: 15894532
There is much concern about underrepresentation of women in some sciences, but less has been written about under-representation of men in psychology. This is a growing trend, but the question is whether anything should be done about it.... Read more »
Marc Smith. (2011) Failing boys, failing psychology. The Psychologist, 24(5), 390-391. info:other/WOS:000290745000037
Howard, A., & et al, . (1986) The changing face of American psychology: A report from the Committee on Employment and Human Resources. American Psychologist, 41(12), 1311-1327. DOI: 10.1037//0003-066X.41.12.1311
Describes the mendelian randomisation method used in a recent PLOS One paper by Lewis et al as evidence for a negative impact of moderate drinking in pregnancy on the child's IQ. This is a nice method, but the use of stepwise regression to identify genetic loci associated with outcomes runs the risk of generating spurious results. ... Read more »
Lewis SJ, Zuccolo L, Davey Smith G, Macleod J, Rodriguez S, Draper ES, Barrow M, Alati R, Sayal K, Ring S.... (2012) Fetal Alcohol Exposure and IQ at Age 8: Evidence from a Population-Based Birth-Cohort Study. PloS one, 7(11). PMID: 23166662
The high profile journal, the New England Journal of Medicine, recently published a paper reporting an association between a nation's number of Nobel laureates per head and mean chocolate consumption. Was this intended seriously? It is hard to believe so, since very obvious explanations for the association were not tested, though they could easily have been. Nevertheless, there's no indication that the journal was using this example to demonstrate the perils of assuming causation from ........ Read more »
Messerli, F. (2012) Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function, and Nobel Laureates. New England Journal of Medicine, 367(16), 1562-1564. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMon1211064
The diagnosis of auditory processing disorder in children has always been controversial. The controversy was stoked this month with publication of a White Paper by the British Society of Audiology, challenging US views on diagnosis... Read more »
Loo, J., Bamiou, D., & Rosen, S. (2012) Title: The Impacts of Language Background and Language-Related Disorders in Auditory Processing Assessment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. DOI: 10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0068)
Moore, D., Rosen, S., Bamiou, D., Campbell, N., & Sirimanna, T. (2012) Evolving concepts of developmental auditory processing disorder (APD): A British Society of Audiology APD Special Interest Group ‘white paper’. International Journal of Audiology, 1-11. DOI: 10.3109/14992027.2012.723143
I argue that, far from advancing our understanding of language acquisition, Chomsky's theories have held back progress because they are based on a false premise: that children operate from the start with abstract grammatical categories. Contemporary work on statistical learning challenges that view.... Read more »
Should academics publish chapters in edited books? On the basis of an analysis of citations of my own writings, I argue no. Book chapters are too inaccessible and much less likely to be read than journal articles. I end with some suggestions for tackling this state of affairs.... Read more »
Correlational data are often used to test causal models of developmental disorders such as dyslexia and SLI, but there are pitfalls in this approach, which can potentially lead to both type I and type II errors. I illustrate the problems and suggest some ways forward... Read more »
Bishop DV, Hardiman MJ, & Barry JG. (2012) Auditory deficit as a consequence rather than endophenotype of specific language impairment: electrophysiological evidence. PloS one, 7(5). PMID: 22662112
Everyone agrees that there has been a dramatic increase in the diagnosis of autism in recent years, but there is disagreement as to why. I examine recent evidence that indicates a substantial impact of changes in diagnostic criteria... Read more »
Bishop, D., Jacobs, P., Lachlan, K., Wellesley, D., Barnicoat, A., Boyd, P., Fryer, A., Middlemiss, P., Smithson, S., Metcalfe, K.... (2010) Autism, language and communication in children with sex chromosome trisomies. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 96(10), 954-959. DOI: 10.1136/adc.2009.179747
Bishop, D., Whitehouse, A., Watt, H., & Line, E. (2008) Autism and diagnostic substitution: evidence from a study of adults with a history of developmental language disorder. Developmental Medicine , 50(5), 341-345. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.02057.x
Brugha, T. (2011) Epidemiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adults in the Community in EnglandEpidemiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(5), 459. DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.38
A new NIH supported project uses dyslexia as a model to address the challenges facing retrospective multi-site studies. The aim is to have more than 2000 pediatric and adult cases from reading disability studies. One long term goal of this project is to make available much of the data collected for this study so that scientists can ask new questions, apply new methods to the data, and develop new collaborations with other scientists who have complementary expertise and interests in reading disa........ Read more »
Eckert MA, Leonard CM, Wilke M, Eckert M, Richards T, Richards A, & Berninger V. (2005) Anatomical signatures of dyslexia in children: unique information from manual and voxel based morphometry brain measures. Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior, 41(3), 304-15. PMID: 15871596
Abnormal neuronal migration has been postulated as a causal factor in dyslexia and specific language impairment. This is an attractive theory that has potential to provide the missing link between genes and behaviour. I review the evidence and note some persisting puzzles. One question is why evidence of neuronal migration abnormalities has seldom been reported in MRI studies of dyslexia and SLI. I suggest that existing MRI datasets could be re-analysed to address this question.... Read more »
Wagner, J., Weber, B., Urbach, H., Elger, C., & Huppertz, H. (2011) Morphometric MRI analysis improves detection of focal cortical dysplasia type II. Brain, 134(10), 2844-2854. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awr204
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