The scientific controversy over social priming – the (claimed) ability of incidental exposure to stimuli to ‘prime’ or evoke complex behaviors – has been rumbling for the past few years. Will it ever end?
In this post I’ll propose one way in which I think it could be resolved.
This week (via Retraction Watch) we learned about the case of Joseph Maroon. Earlier this year Maroon and colleagues published a paper arguing that the much-discussed issue of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) may not be a widespread problem in contact sports such as American football.
However, it turns out that Maroon did not fully declare his conflicts of interest, which include links to the NFL and also World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Maroon, who amongst other things is lead neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, issued a Correction acknowledging his interests in this area. The question of which athletes are at risk of CTE has potential legal and financial implications for sports organisations such as NFL and WWE.
According to British biochemist Donald R. Forsdyke in a new paper in Biological Theory, the existence of people who seem to be missing most of their brain tissue calls into question some of the “cherished assumptions” of neuroscience.
I’m not so sure.
An alarming news story appeared on Monday in the Daily Telegraph:
Wind turbines may trigger danger response in brain
The low frequency noises from turbine blades can be picked up and can trigger a part of the brain linked to emotions, scientists have found…
Brain scans show that even infrasound as low as 8 Hz – a whole octave below the traditional cut off point for human hearing – is still being picked up by the primary auditory cortex, the part of the brain which translates sounds into meaning. And a separate part of the brain, linked to emotions, also lit up.
What’s curious about this is that the research in question wasn’t about wind turbines, and has not been published anywhere yet, as far as I can tell.
Science fraud has been in the news again lately, and it got me thinking about whether it would be possible to fake data with no chance of getting caught. Would it be possible to carry out the perfect scientific crime? How can we help make life more difficult for fraudsters?
A new paper published in Cognitive Processes argues that neuroscientists may need to look at brain activity from a new angle, in order to understand neural dynamics.
The article appeared in the journal Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. The authors are led by Otto E. Rössler, a biochemist. It’s called Is it Ethical to heal a young white Elephant from his physiological Autism? Many thanks to Michelle Dawson for bringing it to my attention.