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  • May 23, 2014
  • 03:17 PM
  • 537 views

Two Cheers for Social Media In Science

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Zen Faulkes of the Neurodojo and Better Posters blogs (the former being established way back in 2002!) has just published an article in major neuroscience journal Neuron on the rise of blogs and social media as forums for scientific debate: The Vacuum Shouts Back: Postpublication Peer Review on Social Media I get a passing mention: […]The post Two Cheers for Social Media In Science appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • May 17, 2014
  • 04:00 PM
  • 809 views

Brain Stimulation Makes Man A Johnny Cash Fan?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A man developed a passionate love for the music of Johnny Cash after being implanted with a brain stimulation device. The unique story is told in a case report in the Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience journal, published on the 6th May. The authors, Mariska Mantione and colleagues, describe the case of “Mr. B”, a 58 […]The post Brain Stimulation Makes Man A Johnny Cash Fan? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • May 10, 2014
  • 09:43 AM
  • 805 views

Science Pseudonyms vs Science Sockpuppets

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

As you might have noticed, I blog (and tweet and comment) under a pseudonym. Recently, I defended the use of pseudonymity and anonymity in science in a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal  – published under my pseudonym. So I was, at first, alarmed to see that Italian physicist Lorenzo Iorio has just published a […]The post Science Pseudonyms vs Science Sockpuppets appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • May 4, 2014
  • 06:39 AM
  • 741 views

fMRI: A Result That Could Make Neuroscientists “Gasp” In Surprise

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Many fMRI studies of brain activity could be confounded by the pattern of the participants breathing. In a new paper published in Human Brain Mapping, Dutch neuroscientists Willem Huijbers and colleagues show that peoples breathing cycle tends to get synchronized (phase-locked) with the appearance of stimuli during cognitive tasks. Because the respiratory cycle is known […]The post fMRI: A Result That Could Make Neuroscientists “Gasp” In Surprise appeared first on Neuroskeptic......... Read more »

  • May 2, 2014
  • 05:57 PM
  • 948 views

Predicting Suicide: A Statistical Scandal

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A shocking piece of statistics has been uncovered in a paper published in a respectable psychiatry journal. The offending article, Electrodermal hyporeactivity as a trait marker for suicidal propensity in uni- and bipolar depression, appeared in 2013 in the Journal of Psychiatry Research. It examined whether an ‘electrodermal hyporeactivity’ test – based on measuring the […]The post Predicting Suicide: A Statistical Scandal appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • April 29, 2014
  • 06:18 AM
  • 1,009 views

Recursive Fury: Misunderstanding The Ethics of Criticism

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

One month ago, a paper was retracted from Frontiers in Psychology. It was called “Recursive fury: conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation”, from Australian psychologists Stephan Lewandowsky and colleagues. Most retractions are valuable corrections to the literature, taking flawed science or plagiarised work out of circulation. I have myself […]The post Recursive Fury: Misunderstanding The Ethics of Criticism appeared first on Ne........ Read more »

  • April 24, 2014
  • 04:39 PM
  • 850 views

Cap and Trade Scientific False Positives?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In a letter to Nature, University of Miami psychologists Michael McCullough and David Kelly propose A trading scheme to reduce false results. Neuroskeptic readers will know that concern over false-positive science is growing. Many solutions have been proposed, but McCullough and Kelly’s is quite novel: Cap-and-trade systems have proved useful in cutting pollutants such as […]The post Cap and Trade Scientific False Positives? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • April 20, 2014
  • 06:03 AM
  • 1,272 views

The Mystery of “Quantum Resonance Spectroscopy”

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Can quantum physics help to diagnose schizophrenia and depression? A paper just published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease claims that a technique called ‘quantum resonance spectroscopy’ (QRS) can accurately diagnose various mental health problems. But is it quantum wizardry or magic quackery? According to the authors of the new paper, Zhang et […]The post The Mystery of “Quantum Resonance Spectroscopy” appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Zhang Y, Liu F, Shi J, Yue X, Zhang H, Du X, Sun L, & Yuan J. (2014) Exploratory quantum resonance spectrometer as a discriminator for psychiatric affective disorders. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 202(4), 287-91. PMID: 24647211  

  • April 11, 2014
  • 03:48 AM
  • 972 views

Brain Scans: Don’t Throw Out The Baby With The Dead Salmon

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Is neuro-skepticism in danger of going too far? Is it time to take a critical look at critiques of neuroscience? Martha Farah of the University of Pennsylvania says yes, in a Hastings Center Report just published: Brain Images, Babies, and Bathwater: Critiquing Critiques of Functional Neuroimaging Farah covers a broad spectrum of criticisms, ranging from […]The post Brain Scans: Don’t Throw Out The Baby With The Dead Salmon appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • April 3, 2014
  • 03:26 PM
  • 1,172 views

Are The Mafia Psychopaths?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The view that the Mafia is an organization of especially ruthless psychopaths is wrong – in fact, members of ‘Cosa Nostra’ have lower psychopathic traits than other criminals. That’s according to a new study from Italian researchers Schimmenti and colleagues, who, appropriately enough, are based in Sicily, the Mafia’s birthplace. Schimmenti et al went to […]The post Are The Mafia Psychopaths? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Schimmenti, A., Caprì, C., La Barbera, D., & Caretti, V. (2014) Mafia and psychopathy. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health. DOI: 10.1002/cbm.1902  

  • April 1, 2014
  • 06:17 PM
  • 870 views

Time Rolls On, Even Without Memory

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A fascinating paper asks what one man with no memory – and no regrets – can really teach us about time: Individuals With Episodic Amnesia Are Not Stuck In Time. Researchers Car Craver and colleagues describe the case of “KC”, a former “roadie for rock bands, prone to drinking and occasional rash behavior” who suffered […]The post Time Rolls On, Even Without Memory appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Craver CF, Kwan D, Steindam C, & Rosenbaum RS. (2014) Individuals With Episodic Amnesia Are Not Stuck In Time. Neuropsychologia. PMID: 24680757  

  • March 26, 2014
  • 06:45 PM
  • 713 views

The Ugly Ducklings of Science

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A group of management researchers provide new evidence of a worrying bias in the scientific process – The Chrysalis Effect: How Ugly Initial Results Metamorphosize Into Beautiful Articles ( via Retraction Watch ) The issue they highlight – the ability of researchers to eventually squeeze support for a theory out of initially negative data – […]The post The Ugly Ducklings of Science appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • March 22, 2014
  • 06:59 AM
  • 892 views

The Explosive Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A few months ago, I blogged about The Hydraulic Brain – an unorthodox theory which proposed that brain function is not electrical, but mechanical. On this view, neuroscientists have it all wrong, because nerve impulses are in fact physical waves of pressure that travel down neurons as if the brain were made up of billions […]The post The Explosive Brain appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • March 15, 2014
  • 11:40 AM
  • 1,060 views

The Power of Conscious Intention Proven At Last?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A neuroscience paper published before Christmas draw my eye with the expansive title: “How Thoughts Give Rise to Action“ Subtitled “Conscious Motor Intention Increases the Excitability of Target-Specific Motor Circuits”, the article’s abstract was no less bold, concluding that: These results indicate that conscious intentions govern motor function… until today, it was unclear whether conscious […]The post The Power of Conscious Intention Proven At Last? ........ Read more »

  • March 12, 2014
  • 06:41 PM
  • 860 views

Can A Computer Measure Your Mood? (CAT Part 3)

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In part 1 and part 2 of this series, I examined the story of the Computerized Adaptive Test – Depression Inventory (CAT-DI). This new technique has touted as being a revolutionary new way of measuring depression. The CAT-DI is a kind of computerized questionnaire, that assesses depressive symptoms by asking a series of questions about […]The post Can A Computer Measure Your Mood? (CAT Part 3) appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Gibbons RD, Weiss DJ, Pilkonis PA, Frank E, Moore T, Kim JB, & Kupfer DJ. (2012) Development of a computerized adaptive test for depression. Archives of general psychiatry, 69(11), 1104-12. PMID: 23117634  

  • March 4, 2014
  • 03:25 PM
  • 798 views

Hormones and Women Voters: A Very Modern Scientific Controversy

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A paper just out in the journal Psychological Science says that: Women Can Keep the Vote: No Evidence That Hormonal Changes During the Menstrual Cycle Impact Political and Religious Beliefs This eye-catching title heads up an article that’s interesting in more ways than you’d think. According to the paper, authors Christine Harris and Laura Mickes […]The post Hormones and Women Voters: A Very Modern Scientific Controversy appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • March 1, 2014
  • 07:53 AM
  • 868 views

Baby Brain Scans Predict Later Cognitive Development?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The shape of a newborn baby’s brain can predict its later cognitive development, according to a new study from New York neuroscientists Marisa Spann and colleagues. Here’s the paper: Morphological features of the neonatal brain support development of subsequent cognitive, language, and motor abilities Now, while the word ‘phrenology‘ gets banded around a lot these […]The post Baby Brain Scans Predict Later Cognitive Development? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • February 23, 2014
  • 01:08 PM
  • 926 views

Disconnecting Consciousness from the External Environment

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

An very interesting report from a group of French neurosurgeons sheds light on the neural basis of consciousness and dreams. Guillaume Herbet and colleagues describe the case of a 45 year old man in whom electrical stimulation of a particular spot in the brain “induced a dramatic alteration of conscious experience in a highly reproducible […]The post Disconnecting Consciousness from the External Environment appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Herbet G, Lafargue G, de Champfleur NM, Moritz-Gasser S, le Bars E, Bonnetblanc F, & Duffau H. (2014) Disrupting posterior cingulate connectivity disconnects consciousness from the external environment. Neuropsychologia, 239-244. PMID: 24508051  

  • February 17, 2014
  • 05:17 PM
  • 790 views

Do Children Need Brain Awareness?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Brain Awareness Week is coming, so I was interested to read today about the University of Minnesota Brain Awareness Program for schools. A paper, published in PLoS ONE a few weeks ago, gives plenty of details about this pioneering educational initiative. But the main reason I’m blogging about it is so I can share this […]The post Do Children Need Brain Awareness? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • February 13, 2014
  • 02:24 PM
  • 1,064 views

The Inefficient Brains of Rabbits

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Are you smarter than a rabbit? You probably feel that you are. But in what way, exactly? Neuroscientists Laurel Carney and colleagues report that the rabbit brain is curiously inefficient – and hypothesize that the human brain is better: Suboptimal Use of Neural Information in a Mammalian Auditory System Carney et al found that rabbits […]The post The Inefficient Brains of Rabbits appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

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