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  • July 16, 2013
  • 07:04 PM

“Positivity Ratio” Criticized In New Sokal Affair

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

British psychologist Nick Brown and two co-authors have just published an astonishing demolition of a top-ranked paper in the field of positive psychology: The Complex Dynamics of Wishful Thinking One of the authors of the critique is Alan Sokal, the physicist who, in 1996, famously wrote a parody of then-fashionable postmodernist theorizing and had it [...]The post “Positivity Ratio” Criticized In New Sokal Affair appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • July 13, 2013
  • 03:56 PM

A New Kind of Peer Review?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Writing in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, a Dr Yvo Smulders of the Netherlands makes a proposal: A two-step manuscript submission process can reduce publication bias Smulder’s point is that scientific manuscripts should be submitted for peer review with the results and discussion omitted. The reviewers would judge the submission on the strength of the [...]The post A New Kind of Peer Review? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • July 9, 2013
  • 06:16 PM

Do You Know What’s Good For You?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

This post draws on the results of the controversial PACE Trial (2011), which compared the effects of four different treatment regimes for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). However, this post isn’t about CFS. What interests me about PACE is that it illuminates a general psychological point: the limitated nature of self-knowledge. Patients in PACE were randomized [...]The post Do You Know What’s Good For You? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • July 6, 2013
  • 08:15 AM

How USA General Knowledge Has Changed, 1980 – 2012

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

“General knowledge” is the body of facts that most people know and are assumed to know. But how general is it? How does it change over time? A lovely little study from Kent State University has revealed how American students in 2012 performed on a comprehensive test of general knowledge that was developed in 1980. By [...]The post How USA General Knowledge Has Changed, 1980 – 2012 appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • July 4, 2013
  • 03:10 PM

From Lupron to PlayWisely: An Autism Journey

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new treatment for children with autism has an interesting history. Here’s the report: Prospective, Blinded Exploratory Evaluation of the PlayWisely Program in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder PlayWisely is rather like a ‘brain training‘ program of cognitive exercises, but involving a face-to-face interaction with a coach too, which is a big plus (often these [...]... Read more »

Kern JK, Garver CR, Mehta JA, Hannan PA, Bakken LE, Vidaud AM, Abraham J, & Daoud Y. (2013) Prospective, Blinded Exploratory Evaluation of the PlayWisely Program in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Yale journal of biology and medicine, 86(2), 157-67. PMID: 23766737  

  • June 29, 2013
  • 08:19 AM

Are Men Less Into Sex Than They Think?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Over the last month, how interested were you in sex? According to a really thought-provoking new study, your answer to that question is likely to be an overestimate – especially if you’re male: Accuracy of 30-Day Recall for Components of Sexual Function and the Moderating Effects of Gender and Mood The authors, a Duke University [...]... Read more »

  • June 27, 2013
  • 05:37 PM

Autism Plus Psychosis = Mass Murder?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

According to a new paper, mass shootings such as Sandy Hook and Aurora may be the result of Autism plus psychosis: A ‘one-two punch’ risk for tragic violence? The first thing to note about this paper is that it’s in Medical Hypotheses. I don’t normally take seriously anything that appears in this rather unique journal. [...]... Read more »

  • June 23, 2013
  • 08:30 AM

The Man Who Knew Moses But Not His Own Son

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

“Nissim”, a 64 year old man, knows that the word for the eldest son in a family is the “firstborn”, but he says that snow is pink and that we wear coats on our feet. A stroke left him unable to talk about anything except abstract concepts. The case of Nissim is reported in a [...]... Read more »

  • June 16, 2013
  • 10:24 AM

Why Do Some Irish Drink So Much?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

An interesting new paper asks Why Do Some Irish Drink So Much? (EDIT: please note, this is the actual title of the paper) In a survey of students attending University College Dublin, (n=3500 respondents), the authors examined self-reported alcohol consumption. Participants also answered various questions about their family background and their place of origin, to [...]... Read more »

  • June 12, 2013
  • 04:50 PM

When Cleaning fMRI Data is a Nuisance

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A flaw in data processing could be leading to biases in fMRI brain functional connectivity patterns, according to a new report: The Nuisance of Nuisance Regression. Ironically, two high-profile recent papers about bias are amongst the victims. The new paper, from Pittsburgh’s Michael Hallquist and colleagues, is essentially about a case where 2 + 2 [...]... Read more »

  • June 8, 2013
  • 09:56 AM

Smarter Children Have More Gray Matter 60 Years Later

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Your IQ at the age of eleven predicts your brain anatomy sixty years later, according to a Canadian/Scottish team of neuroscientists: Childhood cognitive ability accounts for associations between cognitive ability and brain cortical thickness in old age. The authors of the new paper, Karama et al, made use of a unique long-term study of Scottish [...]... Read more »

Karama, S., Bastin, M., Murray, C., Royle, N., Penke, L., Muñoz Maniega, S., Gow, A., Corley, J., Valdés Hernández, M., Lewis, J.... (2013) Childhood cognitive ability accounts for associations between cognitive ability and brain cortical thickness in old age. Molecular Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2013.64  

  • June 7, 2013
  • 05:30 PM

A Personal Academic Journal

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Why is a major academic publisher printing a journal that seems a lot like the newsletter of the editor’s fan club? Nursing Science Quarterly (NSQ) is published by SAGE, one of the big publishers in science and the humanities. Even I’m a SAGE contributor, having published in their Perspectives on Psychological Science. But NSQ may [...]... Read more »

  • June 2, 2013
  • 12:08 PM

When Trick Questions Become False Memories

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Simply asking people whether they experienced an event can trick them into later believing that it did occur, according to a neat little study just out: Susceptibility to long-term misinformation effect outside of the laboratory Psychologists Miriam Lommen and colleagues studied 249 Dutch soldiers were deployed for a four month tour of duty in Afghanistan. [...]... Read more »

  • May 30, 2013
  • 06:04 AM

Looking Askance At Cognitive Neuroscience

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Yesterday, I read a paper that, to my mind, embodies what’s wrong with cognitive neuroscience: Changes in the Amygdala Produced by Viewing Strabismic Eyes I have no wish to attack the authors of the piece. This post is rather unfair on them: their paper is no worse than a hundred others, it’s just a clear case [...]... Read more »

Berberat J, Jaggi GP, Wang FM, Remonda L, & Killer HE. (2013) Changes in the Amygdala Produced by Viewing Strabismic Eyes. Ophthalmology. PMID: 23706702  

  • May 27, 2013
  • 09:56 AM

Fixing Science, Not Just Psychology

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Neuroskeptic readers will know that there’s been a lot of concern lately over unreproducible results and false positives in psychology and neuroscience. In response to these worries, there have been growing calls for reform of the way psychology is researched and published. We’ve seen several initiatives promoting replication and, to my mind even more importantly, [...]... Read more »

  • May 21, 2013
  • 05:51 PM

A Machine to Weigh the Soul

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Newly discovered papers have shed light on a fascinating episode in the history of neuroscience: Weighing brain activity with the balance The story of the early Italian neuroscientist Dr Angelo Mosso and his ‘human circulation balance’ is an old one – I remember reading about it as a student, in the introductory bit of a [...]... Read more »

Sandrone S, Bacigaluppi M, Galloni MR, Cappa SF, Moro A, Catani M, Filippi M, Monti MM, Perani D, & Martino G. (2013) Weighing brain activity with the balance: Angelo Mosso's original manuscripts come to light. Brain : a journal of neurology. PMID: 23687118  

  • May 19, 2013
  • 09:29 AM

Fantastic Distortions of Perception

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper in the journal European Neurology reports on a remarkable case of perceptual distortion that’ll please any connoisseur of neurogothic: A 48-year-old woman woke up one morning without knowing where she was. She recognized her husband and finally realized that she was at home, but reported that she felt that all surroundings appeared [...]... Read more »

  • May 12, 2013
  • 05:49 AM

Visualizing the Connectome

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Last year, I blogged about a new and very pretty way of displaying the data about the human ‘connectome’ – the wiring between different parts of the brain. But there are many beautiful ways of visualizing the brain’s connections, as neuroscientists Daniel Margulies and colleagues of Leipzig discuss in a colourful paper showcasing these techniques. Here, [...]... Read more »

Margulies DS, Böttger J, Watanabe A, & Gorgolewski KJ. (2013) Visualizing the Human Connectome. NeuroImage. PMID: 23660027  

  • May 7, 2013
  • 01:38 PM

Why Are Children Given Antipsychotics?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Prescriptions of antipsychotic (aka neuroleptic) drugs in North American children and adolescents have been rising rapidly in recent years. But why? Gabrielle Carlson of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital offers her thoughts in a brief paper: The Dramatic Rise in Neuroleptic Use In Children: Why Do We Do It and What Does It Buy Us? Carlson [...]... Read more »

  • May 3, 2013
  • 05:41 PM

Brain Voodoo Goes Electric

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Four years ago, neuroscientists became aware of an ominous-sounding manuscript entitled “Voodoo Correlations In Social Neuroscience”. This piece was eventually published under a more prosaic name but it still hit home, with nearly 500 citations so far. To me, this paper marked the start of a new era of ‘critical’ (in the proper sense of [...]... Read more »

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