Can We Grasp The Brain’s Complexity?

By Neuroskeptic | July 14, 2014 1:48 pm

An entertaining paper just out in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience offers a panoramic view of the whole of neuroscience: Enlarging the scope: grasping brain complexity

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

Interview: What’s wrong with the Human Brain Project?

By Neuroskeptic | July 11, 2014 5:42 am

The hot story in neuroscience this week has been the controversy over Europe’s Human Brain Project (HBP). On Monday, 156 neuroscientists signed an open letter calling for major reforms of the ambitious program, and pledging to boycott it if things don’t change.

hbp logo

Since then, the number of signatories on the letter’s site has grown to nearly 600. The HBP released an official response on Wednesday.

I emailed Zach Mainen, one of the drafters of the open letter, for comment.

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On “On the emptiness of failed replications”

By Neuroskeptic | July 7, 2014 1:36 pm

Harvard neuroscientist Jason Mitchell has written a piece called On the emptiness of failed replications

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fMRI Motion Correction: The Quick and the Dead

By Neuroskeptic | July 6, 2014 1:13 pm

The infamous dead salmon brain scan study may just have been eclipsed, in the ‘most ghoulish demonstration of a methodological pitfall in fMRI‘ stakes. A new study examines the issue of motion artifacts, a major concern in much neuroimaging research – and it does so by scanning dead people.

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Is It Time To Redraw the Map of the Brain?

By Neuroskeptic | July 1, 2014 3:47 am

A provocative and important paper just out claims to have identified a pervasive flaw in many attempts to map the function of the human brain.

University College London (UCL) neuroscientists Yee-Haur Mah and colleagues say that in the light of their findings, “current inferences about human brain function and deficits based on lesion mapping must be re-evaluated.”

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: methods, papers, select, Top Posts

Another Education Neuromyth Debunked

By Neuroskeptic | June 29, 2014 5:36 am

What does neuroscience have to say about the educational value of lectures?

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The FDA’s Antidepressant Warning Didn’t Really “Backfire”

By Neuroskeptic | June 24, 2014 5:31 am

We read this week that

‘Black Box’ Warning on Antidepressants Raised Suicide Attempts
A so-called “black box” warning on antidepressants that the medications increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in kids may have had a horrible side-effect. New research finds the warning backfired, causing an increase in suicide attempts by teens and young adults.

The research in question is this paper in the British Medical Journal from Harvard researchers Christine Lu and colleagues.

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fMRI: Can MVPA Really Help Crack The Neural Code?

By Neuroskeptic | June 21, 2014 4:57 am

Multivoxel Pattern Analysis (MVPA) is the latest big thing in the neuroimaging world. MVPA is a multivariate statistical technique that can be applied to fMRI brain scan results as an alternative to conventional univariate methods of finding brain activation.

Neuroscientists love MVPA for two reasons: first, it offers more ‘blobs for your buck’ – it often detects neural signals that don’t show up on conventional scans. Secondly, it seems to offer a way to go beyond merely detecting and localizing activity and actually provide insights into how information is represented in the brain. MVPA promises to not just locate but also ‘decode’ the brain’s activity, one of the Holy Grails of modern neuroscience.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: fMRI, methods, select, statistics, Top Posts

Who’s Afraid of Negative Psychology?

By Neuroskeptic | June 14, 2014 4:53 am

Medium recently published a piece by neuroscientist Jim Coan called Negative Psychology, in which Coan criticized what he sees as a recent, problematic trend towards overly-critical discourse around psychology, especially on blogs and social media.


Moreover, Coan cited me (namely, this post of mine) as part of this unhelpful ‘negative psychology’ movement.

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America’s Most Depressing Jobs?

By Neuroskeptic | June 10, 2014 3:54 pm

An interesting study just published examines the rates of clinical depression experienced by workers in different jobs.

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