When scientists disagree about something, the two sides of the argument often come to form separate communities, with scientists collaborating with others on their “team” while avoiding working with their “opponents”. But is there a better way?
Ethnographer Jill A. Fisher offers a fascinating look at the rumors and urban legends that circulate among the volunteers who get paid to take part in medical research: Stopped hearts, amputated toes and NASA
Two years ago, Dutch science fraudster Diederik Stapel published a book, Ontsporing (“Derailment”), describing how he became one of the world’s leading social psychologists, before falling from grace when it emerged that he’d fabricated the data in dozens of papers.
Stapel wrote Ontsporing in Dutch, but now his story has been translated into English, under the title of Faking Science – thanks to the efforts of Nick Brown. Neuroskeptic readers may remember Brown for his critical analyses of work in the field of positive psychology. I was one of the proofreaders for the translation. (Edit: the translation is free to download – so you won’t be supporting Stapel financially by reading the book.)
A simple statistical misunderstanding is leading many neuroscientists astray in their use of machine learning tools, according to a new paper in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods: Exceeding chance level by chance.
Our team of UCLA trained neuroscientists set out to solve the problem that energy drinks do not – genuine focus… Crafted with the perfect amounts of active nootropics… Loaded with amino acids to fuel the thinking process.
My interest was moderately piqued by this, but then TruBrain blocked a fellow neuroblogger on Twitter. This got my attention.
A compelling article in the Journal of Medical Biography recounts the story of Bayard Holmes and Henry Cotton, two American “surgeon-psychiatrists” who believed that they could cure schizophrenia by removing parts of their patients’ intestines (and other organs).
What’s more, both men tested their treatments on their own children – with tragic results. The article is by Jonathan Davidson of Duke University.
A new study offers two reasons to be cautious about some of the claims made for the role of the hormone oxytocin in human behavior.
The paper’s out now in PLoS ONE from researchers James C. Christensen and colleagues, who are based at the US Air Force Research Laboratory in Ohio. That the military are interested in oxytocin at all is perhaps a testament to the huge amount of interest that this molecule has attracted in recent years. Oxytocin has been called the “hug hormone”, and is said to be involved in such nice things as love and trust. But according to Christensen et al., quite a lot of previous oxytocin research may be flawed.
Subliminal perception has long been a hot topic. The idea that something (generally an image) could appear and disappear before us so quickly that it escapes conscious perception, and yet affect us subconsciously, is a fascinating (and scary) one.
Psychologists and neuroscientists are fairly skeptical of any grand or sinister claims for the power of subliminal advertising or propaganda, but on the other hand, many of them use the technique as a research tool.
So what’s the absolute speed limit of the brain? What’s the minimum time that a stimulus needs to appear in order to trigger a measurable brain response?
This is my third post on ‘quantum resonance spectrometry’ (QRS), a very strange medical technology. In April I I blogged about a paper from a group of Chinese psychiatrists claiming that QRS can diagnose mental health problems.
Last week I reported that my post had inspired a Letter to the Editor questioning this claim and asking for details on how QRS works. In reply the authors said that “We know only as much as you about the work mechanism of QRS” and suggested that readers in search in details ought to consult the manufacture, “Tian Ji Quan Quantum Medical Science Development Research Institute” (http://www.tjqq.com/).
So I did. What I found was bizarre.
Back in April, I blogged about a paper published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (JNMD) claiming that a little-known technique called ‘quantum resonance spectrometry’ (QRS) was able to diagnose mental health problems. I expressed surprise that the paper didn’t explain what QRS actually is, how it works, or what it measures.