More on “Behavior Priming” and Unconscious Influences

By Neuroskeptic | August 16, 2017 10:00 am

Last year, psychologists B. Keith Payne and colleagues breathed new life into the debate over ‘social priming’ with a paper called Replicable effects of primes on human behavior.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: blogging, methods, papers, select, Top Posts

Call of MRI: Action Video Games And The Brain

By Neuroskeptic | August 14, 2017 3:16 pm

No sooner had I published my last post, on the much-discussed “women’s brains are more active than men’s” study, than another neuroscience paper triggered a fresh media storm. This time, the subject was videogames, and the headlines were alarming:

CATEGORIZED UNDER: media, papers, select, Top Posts

Female Brains Are More Active?

By Neuroskeptic | August 8, 2017 2:52 pm

Another day, another over-hyped sex differences neuroscience study. The headlines this time around are especially cringeworthy:

Study Finds Women’s Brains Are Far More Active Than Men’s

Women Are Using A LOT More Of Their Brains Than Men. Surprise, surprise 😏

Women really DO overthink things! Scans reveal they have ‘more active brains than men’

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Spreadsheet Risks in Science

By Neuroskeptic | August 6, 2017 6:08 am

Errors in the use of spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel could pose risks for science.

That’s according to a preprint posted on arXiv from Ghada AlTarawneh and Simon Thorne of Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: papers, science, select, Top Posts

Can PhD Students Write Review Papers?

By Neuroskeptic | July 31, 2017 1:47 pm

In a post earlier this month, I discussed a new Journal of Neuroscience paper on statistical power in neuroscience. That paper was a response to and reanalysis of a previous article, and in my post I noted my surprise that the new paper hadn’t appeared in Nature Reviews: Neuroscience (NRN), where the original paper had been published.

NRN Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: papers, science, select, Top Posts

Are Underpowered Studies Ever Justified?

By Neuroskeptic | July 29, 2017 2:03 pm

Is a small scientific study better than none at all? A provocative piece in Frontiers in Psychology raises the question of whether we should ever do under-powered studies. The authors are Dutch researchers Rik Crutzen and Gjalt-Jorn Y. Peters.


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Three Kinds of Human Smiles

By Neuroskeptic | July 28, 2017 2:30 pm

There are three basic types of human smile: “reward”, “affiliative” and “dominance” smiles. That’s according to a new paper by psychologists Magdalena Rychlowska and colleagues.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: faces, papers, select, Top Posts

Predatory Journals Hit By ‘Star Wars’ Sting

By Neuroskeptic | July 22, 2017 4:57 am

A number of so-called scientific journals have accepted a Star Wars-themed spoof paper. The manuscript is an absurd mess of factual errors, plagiarism and movie quotes. I know because I wrote it.

Inspired by previous publishing “stings”, I wanted to test whether ‘predatory‘ journals would publish an obviously absurd paper. So I created a spoof manuscript about “midi-chlorians” – the fictional entities which live inside cells and give Jedi their powers in Star Wars. I filled it with other references to the galaxy far, far away, and submitted it to nine journals under the names of Dr Lucas McGeorge and Dr Annette Kin.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: funny, movies, papers, select, Top Posts

Is Neuroscience Underpowered? “Power Failure” Revisited

By Neuroskeptic | July 19, 2017 2:03 pm

Back in 2013, a Nature Reviews Neuroscience paper appeared called Power failure: why small sample size undermines the reliability of neuroscience. This paper got a lot of attention at the time and has since been cited a dizzying 1760 times according to Google.


‘Power Failure’ made waves for its stark message that most neuroscience studies are too small, leaving neuroscience lacking statistical power, the chance of detecting signal in the noise. As the authors Kate Button et al. wrote

The average statistical power of studies in the neurosciences is very low. The consequences of this include overestimates of effect size and low reproducibility of results.

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The “Eleven Dimensional” Brain? Topology of Neural Networks

By Neuroskeptic | July 17, 2017 3:21 pm

Last month, a neuroscience paper appeared that triggered a maelstrom of media hype:

The Human Brain Can Create Structures in Up to 11 Dimensions

The human brain sees the world as an 11-dimensional multiverse

Scientists find mysterious shapes and structures in the brain with up to ELEVEN dimensions

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No brain. No gain.

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