The Memory Fades, The Emotion Remains

By Neuroskeptic | September 27, 2014 7:37 am

People with Alzheimer’s disease can experience severe memory impairments.memory_emotionHowever, according to a new study, the emotions associated with events can persist long after the events themselves have been forgotten: Feelings Without Memory in Alzheimer Disease

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Warning: This Post Will Change Your Brain

By Neuroskeptic | September 21, 2014 6:21 am

Last week I gave a talk in Brazil called Why Is It So Hard To Think About The Brain?, Well, no sooner have I returned than a story appeared that illustrates my point all too well.

A neuroscience paper made headlines around the world on Friday. Here’s Time‘s take:

One Dose of Antidepressant Changes the Brain, Study Finds

One dose of antidepressant is all it takes to change the brain, finds a small new study published in the journal Current Biology.

The study authors took brain scans of 22 healthy people. Some were randomized to take a dose of the most common kind of antidepressant, an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). After another brain scan three hours later, researchers saw a dramatic change: a widespread drop in connectivity throughout the brain, except where it was enhanced in two brain regions, the cerebellum and thalamus…

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Coffee Drinkers Have Trouble Talking About Emotions?

By Neuroskeptic | September 18, 2014 3:09 pm

People who drink a lot of coffee – and other caffeinated beverages – find it more difficult to identify and describe their own emotions.

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Why Is It So Hard To Think About The Brain?

By Neuroskeptic | September 16, 2014 7:52 am

This is the abstract for one of the two talks that I gave last week in Búzios, Brazil for the SBNeC conference: “Why Is It So Hard To Think About The Brain?” The talk didn’t end up following this plan exactly, but all of the ideas are here. I had an incredible time at SBNeC and learned much; I’d like to thank everyone who made it possible for me to be there, especially Olavo Amaral and Patricia Bado.



“Why Is It So Hard To Think About The Brain?”

Today, we are thinking – and talking – about the brain more than ever before. It is widely said that neuroscience has much to teach psychiatry, cognitive science, economics, and others. Practical applications of brain science are proposed in the fields of politics, law enforcement and education. The brain is everywhere.

This “Neuro Turn” has, however, not always been accompanied by a critical attitude. We ought to be skeptical of any claims regarding the brain because it remains a mystery – we fundamentally do not understand how it works. Yet much neuro-discourse seems to make the assumption that the brain is almost a solved problem already.

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“Cyranoids”: Stanley Milgram’s Creepiest Experiment

By Neuroskeptic | September 6, 2014 5:26 am

Imagine that someone else was controlling your actions. You would still look like you, and sound like you, but you wouldn’t be the one deciding what you did and what you said. Now consider: would anyone notice the difference?

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Compulsive Poetry In Epilepsy

By Neuroskeptic | September 3, 2014 1:55 pm

The case of a woman who began compulsively writing poems after being treated for epilepsy offers a rare glimpse into the ‘inner’ dimension of a neurological disorder. Here’s the paper in Neurocase from British neurologists Woollacott and colleagues.

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The Replication Crisis: Response to Lieberman

By Neuroskeptic | August 31, 2014 3:57 pm

In a long and interesting article over at Edge, social neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman discusses (amongst other things) the ‘replication crisis’ in his field. Much of what he says will be of interest to regular readers of this blog.

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The Myth Of “Roid Rage”?

By Neuroskeptic | August 30, 2014 7:12 am

Are men who inject testosterone and other anabolic steroids at risk of entering a violent “roid rage“?

Many people think so. Whenever a professional athlete commits a violent crime, it’s not long before someone suggests that steroids may have been involved. The most recent example of this is the case of Jonathan “War Machine” Koppenhaver. The steroid theory has emerged as an explanation for why he violently assaulted his girlfriend and then went on the run, e.g. here.


But the whole “roid rage” theory is flawed, according to a new study from Swedish researchers Lena Lundholm and colleagues, published today in the journal Addiction: Anabolic androgenic steroids and violent offending

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: law, mental health, papers, select, Top Posts

(False?) Positive Psychology Meets Genomics

By Neuroskeptic | August 27, 2014 6:35 pm

Academic bunfight ahoy! A new paper from Nick Brown – famed debunker of the “Positivity Ratio” – and his colleagues, takes aim at another piece of research on feel-good emotions.


The target is a 2013 paper published in PNAS from positive psychology leader Barbara Fredrickson and colleagues: A functional genomic perspective on human well-being.

The disputed paper claimed to have found significant correlations between questionnaire measures of human happiness, and the expression of a set of 53 stress related genes in blood cells.

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The Strange Rise and Fall of a Medical Journal

By Neuroskeptic | August 25, 2014 10:19 am

For almost a year, I’ve been blogging about two strange organizations from the world of science, Publication Integrity and Ethics (PIE) and Open Access Publishing London (OAPL).

This story went quiet for a while, but now it’s back, with the publication of an extraordinary document called: Evidence-based analysis: The rise and fall of Head and Neck Oncology I : the audit and subsequent investigations. This paper is, to my knowledge, unique in the medical literature. In it, the editor of a medical journal devotes a whole 15 pages to defending his own behavior as editor, and refuting charges of misconduct against him.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: funny, law, papers, PIE, science, select, Top Posts

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