Inherited Memories: Too Good To Be True?

By Neuroskeptic | October 16, 2014 3:18 pm

In December last year, researchers Brian Dias and Kerry Ressler made a splash with a paper seeming to show that memories can be inherited.

This article, published in Nature Neuroscience, reported that if adult mice are taught to be afraid of a particular smell, then their children will also fear it. Which is pretty wild. Epigenetics was proposed as the mechanism.

Now, however, psychologist Gregory Francis says that the data Dias and Ressler published are just too good to be true: Too much success for recent groundbreaking epigenetic experiments.

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Emodiversity: A Mix of Emotions Is Healthiest?

By Neuroskeptic | October 13, 2014 4:17 pm

“Emodiversity” – a life containing a balance of different emotions – is good for you. So say psychologists Jordi Quoidbach and colleagues in a rather cool new paper (pdf).

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What Really Drives Academic Citations?

By Neuroskeptic | October 12, 2014 1:11 pm

Citations are today the international currency of the scholarly economy. In theory, academic citations are the gold standard measure of the ‘impact‘ of a piece of work. If it gets other academics talking then it’s important.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: FixingScience, media, science, select, Top Posts

How To Not Be A Sockpuppet

By Neuroskeptic | October 9, 2014 4:53 pm

As a pseudonymous blogger and defender of the idea of anonymous and pseudonymous writing, I believe that you shouldn’t need to use your real name in order for your ideas to be taken seriously.

However, pseudonymity can be abused. When this happens it crosses the line and becomes sockpuppetry. But where exactly is that line?

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The Underwear Fetish Brain?

By Neuroskeptic | October 4, 2014 10:33 am

According to a Japanese case report, a man developed a fetish for women’s underwear due to decreased brain blood flow.

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Sleeping Brains Understand Words

By Neuroskeptic | October 3, 2014 3:01 pm

Have you ever heard someone describe a task as being so easy that they ‘could do it in their sleep’? A fascinating new study from a team of French neuroscientists shows that this statement may be literally true, far more often than you’d think: Inducing Task-Relevant Responses to Speech in the Sleeping Brain

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

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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