What To Do About Software Errors in fMRI?

By Neuroskeptic | August 21, 2016 4:49 am

Last month we learned that a problem in commonly used fMRI analysis tools was giving rise to elevated rates of false positives. Now, another issue has been discovered in an fMRI tool. The affected software is called GingerALE and the ‘implementation errors’ are revealed in a new paper by Simon B. Eickhoff et al., the developers of the package.


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The Brain That Goes Through Phases: Temporal Metastates in fMRI

By Neuroskeptic | August 19, 2016 1:42 pm

Do you ever feel like your brain is stuck in a rut? A new study from neuroscientists James M. Shine and colleagues reveals the existence of ‘temporal metastates’ in human brain activity. These metastates are modes or patterns of activity that can persist over days, weeks or even months at a time, and they seem to be related to fluctuations in energy levels and attention.

The authors made use of a unique fMRI dataset, namely the results of repeated scanning of neuroscientist Russ Poldrack‘s brain. Poldrack (who is also one of the authors) was scanned 84 times over a period of 532 days, an average of about one session each week for a year and a half. Shine et al. examined the functional connectivity of the brain during each session, and then applied a method called affinity propagation to define clusters from the connectivity patterns.

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

Science Without Open Data Isn’t Science

By Neuroskeptic | August 16, 2016 12:57 pm

A new position paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has generated a lot of controversy among some scientists: Toward Fairness in Data Sharing.

It’s not hard to see why: the piece criticizes the concept of data sharing in the context of clinical trials. Data sharing is the much-discussed idea that researchers should make their raw data available to anyone who wants to access it. While the NEJM piece is specifically framed as a rebuttal to this recent pro-data sharing NEJM article, the arguments advanced apply to science more generally.


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More on “Patient H.M.” – Interview with Luke Dittrich

By Neuroskeptic | August 12, 2016 5:27 am

Last month, I reviewed an advance copy of “Patient H.M.”, the new book by journalist Luke Dittrich that looks at the story of the amnesia patient Henry Molaison, perhaps the most famous case study in neuroscience. (“Patient H.M.” has now been published.) Shortly after posting my review I interviewed Dittrich and this post presents this interview.

Note: this interview took place on July 20th, before the controversy arose over an August 3rd New York Times article containing extracts from “Patient H.M.”.


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“I Just Don’t Believe Those Results”

By Neuroskeptic | August 7, 2016 5:28 am

Are some scientific results so unexpected that we should just reject them?

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: science, select, statistics, Top Posts

Some Surprising Authors of Psychology Papers

By Neuroskeptic | August 1, 2016 2:53 pm

In a fascinating new paper, Scott O. Lilienfeld and Steven Jay Lynn discuss 78 Surprising Authors of Psychological Publications. The paper is a list of celebrities and other notable figures who, at one time or another, have published an academic paper in psychology.
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: funny, history, movies, papers, select, Top Posts

The End of Ego-Depletion Theory?

By Neuroskeptic | July 31, 2016 5:39 am

It’s not been a good month for the theory of ego-depletion – the idea that self-control is a limited resource that can be depleted by overuse. Two weeks ago, researchers reported evidence of bias in the published literature examining the question of whether glucose can reverse ego-depletion.

Now, the very existence of the ego-depletion phenomenon has been questioned by an international collaboration of psychologists who conducted a preregistered replication attempt (RRR). The results have just been published in Perspectives on Psychological Science (although they’ve been circulating for a while.) Read More

The Myth of Human Adult Neurogenesis?

By Neuroskeptic | July 27, 2016 8:49 am

In a new paper that could prove explosive, Australian neuropathologists C. V. Dennis and colleagues report that they found very little evidence for adult neurogenesis in humans.

In recent years, the idea that neurogenesis – the production of new neurons – occurs in specific regions of the adult brain has become widely accepted, and much discussed. Disruptions to neurogenesis have been proposed to play a role in stress, depression, and other disorders.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: neurogenesis, papers, select, Top Posts

A New Map of the Brain: What Does It Mean?

By Neuroskeptic | July 23, 2016 8:41 am

A new Nature paper has earned a lot of media attention, unusually given that it’s a fairly technical and ‘basic’ piece of neuroscience. In the paper, researchers Matthew F. Glasser and colleagues present a new parcellation (or map) of the human cerebral cortex, breaking the cortex down into 180 areas per hemisphere – many more than conventional maps.

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

Can Ultrasound Diagnose Autism?

By Neuroskeptic | July 19, 2016 2:17 pm

A paper makes the remarkable claim that autism could be detected through the use of ultrasound to peer beneath the skull. This paper is from 2014, but it just came to my attention.

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