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Best & Worst in Psychology & Psychiatry – December 2015

For every month of the year, we scour through 1000s of published studies and list some of the hottest positive findings and negative findings in psychology and psychiatry research. This month, no main theme emerged, however the good and the bad relating to four main subjects were repeated throughout the top 10 – empathy and […]

Would You Stick Pins In A Voodoo Doll of Your Child?

Well? Would you...? This was the question faced by the participants in a rather extraordinary series of studies described in a new paper from Illinois psychologists Randy J. McCarthy and colleagues. In total, 1081 parents with children aged under 18 were presented with an outline of a person, and asked to imagine that it was their own child. Show More Summary

A Virtual Brain – The Benefits of Brain Modelling

Humans have acquired a certain amount of knowledge about the laws which govern our world. It is far from complete, but what we already know allows us to build theories and speculate about how our world works. In this continuous effort of explanation, building models that mimic and predict natural phenomena plays a substantial role. […]

INS Annual Meeting Begins Today in Boston

The 44th Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) begins today in Boston. The homepage of of the meeting can be found here.

Best and Worst of Neuroscience and Neurology – December 2015

In the field of neuroscience and neurology, the end of last year was unusually fruitful for interesting and unexpected findings. There were fascinating developments both in fundamental research and in therapeutic treatment of brain diseases. Show More Summary

Can We Explain Hallucinations?

Hallucination, what is it? Free wandering of the mind, the ability to see parallel universes, a soul’s flight through a continuum of variants, or just a brain malfunction? Is it a disease or a normal physiological reaction to a specific stimulus or set of stimuli? Science defines hallucination as a sensory experience of something that […]

NASA – Defending Earth

NASA recently announced that it has created a Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). The purpose of this new office is to defend the Earth from alien invasion. OK, no, but the name does sound like that, doesn’t it? The purpose of the office is to coordinate efforts to defend the Earth from Near Earth Objects […]

Schizophrenia, Hubris and Science

A press-release from the Harvard-MIT Broad Institute reaches astonishing heights of hyperbole in announcing a new schizophrenia study (Sekar et al. 2016). Here's the release: Genetic study provides first-ever insight into biologicalShow More Summary

New Brain Games Exclusive Preview – Times Square Mass Mind Reading

This Sunday February 14th (9 p.m. ET), the Emmy-nominated Brain Games tv-show is back! Wonder junkie Jason Silva returns to our screens, teaming up with leading neuroscientists, psychologists, cognitive psychologists and specialists in a whirlwind trip around the globe to: “…uncover the powers of our minds that we never knew existed.” National Geographic presents six […]

Spa Death and the Dangers of Pseudoscience

Three Quebec spa workers were just sentenced to prison for their role in the death of Chantal Lavigne. During their “spiritual” treatment, Lavigne was wrapped in mud, then is cellophane, covered in multiple layers, and her head put in a cardboard box, on a hot summer day, for nine hours. It will probably not shock […]

Was I Wrong?

In honor of The Neurocritic's 10th anniversary, I'd like to announce a new occasional feature: Was I Wrong? In science, as in life, we learn from our mistakes. We can't move forward if we don't admit we were wrong and revise our entrenched theory (or tentative hypothesis) when faced with contradictory evidence. Show More Summary

What Keeps Couples Together For the Duration?

About 9 out of 10 of us in the United States will “marry” in various arrangements at least once. About 40% to 45% will not stay married. And with each subsequent remarriage, the risk of divorce elevates. In this article, I review the factors that bring us together, and not those that drive us apart. […]

The Automatic Neuroscientist

We've learned this week that computers can play Go. But at least there's one human activity they will never master: neuroscience. A computer will never be a neuroscientist. Except... hang on. A new paper just out in Neuroimage describes something called The Automatic Neuroscientist. Show More Summary

NECSS and Richard Dawkins

The Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS) will hold its 8th conference this year in New York from May 12-15. While we are expecting a great conference this year, the opening of registration has been marked by a bit of controversy. Last week we announced that Richard Dawkins would be a featured speaker at […]

Math vs Conspiracies

A recent paper in PLOS One explores the mathematical probability of a grand conspiracy being revealed from within. The paper, of course, does not disprove any particular conspiracy theory, but it does make a compelling argument by putting into rigorous form a frequent argument against grand conspiracies, that they are too big not to fail. […]

Phobias Part III – Emetophobia, Fear of Vomiting

Day-to-day life can be a living nightmare for an emetophobe. Chances are you have met one and didn’t even know it. Peppermints, antiemetics, antacids and antiseptics are their standard weapons of choice in the often lifelong and epic battle against, and extreme at-all-costs avoidance of, their mortal enemy – vomit. A surprisingly common ‘side-effect’ shared […]

Is risk of Alzheimer’s Disease reduced by taking a more positive attitude toward aging?

Unwarranted claims that “modifiable” negative beliefs cause Alzheimer’s disease lead to blaming persons who develop Alzheimer’s disease for not having been more positive. Lesson: A source’s impressive credentials are no substitute for independent critical appraisal

How do you celebrate 10 years of an anonymous blog?

Today, The Neurocritic celebrates ten years as a blog. Given the ongoing use of a pseudonym, how should I commemorate the occasion?1. Should I finally update my blog template? (“Hey, 2004 wants their Blogger template back”).2. Should...Show More Summary

Plagiarism Is Theft - But Of What?

It's widely accepted that plagiarism is a bad thing. But why is this? What makes it wrong? You might say that plagiarism is theft of intellectual property. To be sure, if I copy someone else's work and publish it myself, I'd be in breach of copyright; I'd be pirating their material. Show More Summary

Top 10 Technology Stories of 2015

It goes without saying that our health and wellbeing is inextricably linked with technology these days, for better or for worse. Movies like Chappie have set imaginations afire with the possibilities of artifical intelligence, while back in reality using our mobile phones to meditate, learn a new language or tinker with virtual immortality is the […]

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