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.

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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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Researchers Apologize For Writing “Derpy” In A Paper

By Neuroskeptic | July 15, 2017 9:43 am

It appears that memes and science don’t mix well. A pair of researchers have published an apology in a peer-reviewed journal – for using the word “derpy” in an earlier paper.

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“Brain Training” Doesn’t Work?

By Neuroskeptic | July 13, 2017 2:43 pm

Lumosity “brain training” games have no beneficial effects on cognition, according to a paper just published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: fMRI, papers, select, Top Posts

Political Neuroscience: “Growth Mindsets” and Disability

By Neuroskeptic | July 10, 2017 3:06 pm

On Twitter, I learned that the British government is citing neuroscience studies as part of a new welfare initiative.

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