Hormones and Women Voters: A Very Modern Scientific Controversy

By Neuroskeptic | March 4, 2014 2:25 pm

A paper just out in the journal Psychological Science says that: Women Can Keep the Vote: No Evidence That Hormonal Changes During the Menstrual Cycle Impact Political and Religious Beliefs

This eye-catching title heads up an article that’s interesting in more ways than you’d think.

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Baby Brain Scans Predict Later Cognitive Development?

By Neuroskeptic | March 1, 2014 6:53 am

The shape of a newborn baby’s brain can predict its later cognitive development, according to a new study from New York neuroscientists Marisa Spann and colleagues.

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Disconnecting Consciousness from the External Environment

By Neuroskeptic | February 23, 2014 12:08 pm

An very interesting report from a group of French neurosurgeons sheds light on the neural basis of consciousness and dreams.

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Preregistration For Data Science?

By Neuroskeptic | February 22, 2014 1:48 pm

In a post on the issue of preregistration in science, statistician and political scientist Andrew Gelman writes (my emphasis) that:

I support proposals in psychology and political science to allow preregistration to be done in an open way. I just wouldn’t want preregistration to be required, indeed the concept of preregistration would seem to me to be just about impossible to apply in the analysis of public datasets such as we use in political science.

What Gelman is saying is that preregistration – getting scientists to publicly announce what experiments they will conduct ahead of time, to defeat publication bias – would not be possible in the case of reanalysis studies. Rather than collecting new data, such research consists of taking a new look at old data. There is widespread concern that, because these kinds of studies can’t be preregistered, this kind of research would become denigrated or even unpublishable, were registration to become the norm.

preregistrationNow, reanalysis is immensely valuable (even I do it), and I’ve yet to meet anyone who wants it abolished. Luckily, I do not think that the rise of preregistration would threaten such studies, even if they were unpreregisterable.

But in this post I want to go further than that – or, maybe, off the deep end – and say: maybe they could be preregistered.

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Duplicate Publication, Integrity and Ethics (PIE Part 4)

By Neuroskeptic | February 18, 2014 3:05 pm

A couple of months ago, I became aware of an organization called Publication Integrity and Ethics (PIE). In three posts (1,2,3) I explored some interesting facts about this group, and about a related organization, Open Access Publishing London (OAPL).

PIE say that their mission is to “promote and maintain a better and a healthier publishing environment through a new set of ethical rules and guidelines”. OAPL, who manage some 50 academic journals, say that they were “the first global publishing house to adopt the PIE Guidelines.” …They are also the only global publishing house whose Director is a relative of PIE’s Director.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: blogging, funny, papers, PIE, select, Top Posts

Do Children Need Brain Awareness?

By Neuroskeptic | February 17, 2014 4:17 pm

Brain Awareness Week is coming, so I was interested to read today about the University of Minnesota Brain Awareness Program for schools.

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The Inefficient Brains of Rabbits

By Neuroskeptic | February 13, 2014 1:24 pm

Are you smarter than a rabbit?

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: animals, papers, select, Top Posts

Is Ultrasonic Brain Stimulation The Future?

By Neuroskeptic | February 9, 2014 1:10 pm

A paper just out in Nature Neuroscience proposes a new tool for neuroscientists who want to stimulate the brain – ultrasound.

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

Depression: Ketamine Eyes Hath Seen The Glory?

By Neuroskeptic | February 8, 2014 12:09 pm

Ketamine: club drug, ‘horse-tranquillizer’, and… miracle antidepressant?

I’ve blogged about the research behind the claim that ketamine has rapid-acting antidepressant effects several times. Since 2009, my view has been that it is impossible to tell whether ketamine has specific antidepressant properties, because ketamine has never been compared against an ‘active placebo‘ control. In trials, patients given ketamine report feeling better than patients given no drug.

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All That Glitters Is Not BOLD For fMRI Scanning?

By Neuroskeptic | February 3, 2014 12:29 pm

A new paper warns that: All that glitters is not BOLD. This title seems designed to worry neuroscientists, because the blood oxygenation-level dependent (BOLD) phenomenon is what allows fMRI scanning to detect brain activity.

Or is it? Writing in Scientific Reports, Finnish neuroscientists Ville Renval, Cathy Nangini and Riitta Hari argue that BOLD isn’t always central to the fMRI signal.

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