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Pyramid Homology vs Analogy

I saw this post on the Credible Hulk Facebook page today. It refers to an old claim by proponents of ancient astronaut theories that the fact that there are similar looking pyramids from different locations on Earth proves cultural contamination from an extraterrestrial source. While this is a silly argument, it is interesting to explore […]

Gaslighting in the Medical Literature

Have you felt that your sense of reality has been challenged lately? That the word “truth” has no meaning any more? Does the existence of alternative facts make you question your own sanity? In modern usage, the term gaslighting refers...Show More Summary

At the Cusp of Solving Cognitive Aging?

  It’s Brain Awareness Week, and we’ll be hearing about breakthroughs in basic science that could lead to big advances in how we live. Yet, most of the discoveries will require decades of further work, before they help people. But,... Continue Reading ? The post At the Cusp of Solving Cognitive Aging? appeared first on "On the Brain" with Dr. Michael Merzenich.

8 Practical Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp

Dr. Michael Merzenich conducted the seminal experiments that led to the discovery of lifelong plasticity?—?that the brain changes chemically, physically, and functionally based on sensory and other inputs at any age. Last year, Dr. Merzenich was made a Kavli Laureate,... Show More Summary

Rising, Down Under

I just spent several days talking with scientists and lecturing in Australia.  The summer months (our winter months) are a wonderful time to travel Down Under.  The cities are lively, the sun is out, and people are in cheerful mood—which... Continue Reading ? The post Rising, Down Under appeared first on "On the Brain" with Dr. Michael Merzenich.

A very serious video game addiction in South Korea

I just returned from a week spent talking with therapists and educational specialists in Seoul, South Korea.  As in visits to many places in the world, it is exciting to see the enthusiasm that therapists have for applying our brain... Continue Reading ? The post A very serious video game addiction in South Korea appeared first on "On the Brain" with Dr. Michael Merzenich.

Insights from a Brain Training Study on Tinnitus

In the January 19th issue of JAMA-Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, a research team from Washington University (St. Louis) School of Medicine reported interesting outcomes from a brain training strategy that appeared to help a significant proportion of individuals living with... Show More Summary

Under attack: Our Science Voices Must Be Heard

Scientists usually avoid extending their arguments into politics.  Politics is all about persuasion and belief.  Science is all about evidence-informed conclusion.  In science, we continuously measure the strength of the evidence supporting initially-tentative hypotheses.  Evidence often gradually accumulates in support... Show More Summary

Jane Brody promoting the pseudoscience of Barbara Fredrickson in the New York Times

Journalists’ coverage of positive psychology and health is often shabby, even in prestigious outlets like The New York Times. Jane Brody’s latest installment of the benefits of being positive on health relied heavily on the

Organic Farming is Bad for the Environment

Marketing sometimes involves the science of making you believe something that is not true, with the specific goal of selling you something (a product, service, or even ideology). The organic lobby, for example, has done a great job of creating a health halo and environmentally friendly halo for organic produce, while simultaneously demonizing their competition […]

Unreliability of fMRI Emotional Biomarkers

Brain responses to emotion stimuli are highly variable even within the same individual, and this could be a problem for researchers who seek to use these responses as biomarkers to help diagnose and treat disorders such as depression. That's...Show More Summary

Graecopithecus – Possible Early Human Ancestor from Europe

Finding fossils is like finding pieces to a jigsaw puzzle, although we don’t know what the final picture is, or where the edges are, and the pieces themselves are damaged or partial and so it is not always clear if they fit. A piece may seem to fit in one location, but it actually goes […]

The Smart Meter Hubbub

Same story, different day. While the details of specific topics change, people are the same. They commit the same fallacies and errors in thinking, and so the patterns of arguments tend to be the same. Many power companies are replacing the old analogue meters with digital smart meters – devices that measure how much electricity […]

A Survey of Our Secret Lives

What kinds of secrets does the average person keep? In a new paper, Columbia University researchers Michael L. Slepian and colleagues carried out a survey of secrets. Slepian et al. developed a 'Common Secrets Questionnaire' (CSQ) and gave it to 600 participants recruited anonymously online. Show More Summary

Young Earth Creationists and the Grand Canyon

Andrew Snelling is a young-earth creationist with a PhD in geology who wants to study the Grand Canyon. The National Park Service (NPS), which regulated who gets to do science in Grand Canyon National Park, turned down his application. You can probably guess what happened next. Snelling is now suing the NPS and the Department […]

Results of largest trial of suicide intervention in emergency departments ever conducted in US

The NIMH issued a press release about the publication in JAMA Psychiatry of results of the ED-SAFE Study, the largest suicide intervention trial ever conducted in emergency departments (ED) in US. NIMH “We expect that

Follow Up on Bem’s Psi Research

An interesting article in Slate by Daniel Engber reviews the story of Daryl Bem and his psi “Feeling the Future” research. If you are interested in this sort of thing the entire article is worth a read, but I want to highlight and expand upon the important bits. For review, in 2011 Bem published a series […]

Best and Worst of Neuroscience and Neurology – April 2017

The number of neuroscience publications steadily grows over the years. In 2006, around 27,000 paper on this subject were published, while in 2015 this number went up to almost 37,000. This is a seriously big increase that reflects the importance of brain science and the growing interest in this field of research. The selection of […]

Paper About Plagiarism Contains Plagiarism

Regular readers will know that I have an interest in plagiarism. Today I discovered an amusing case of plagiarism in a paper about plagiarism. The paper is called The confounding factors leading to plagiarism in academic writing and some suggested remedies. Show More Summary

Does High Testosterone Mean Low Empathy?

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand the feelings, emotions, and perspective of another person.  Empathy is critical for healthy social interactions, and impairments in empathy contribute to disorders of social interaction such as autism and psychopathy. Women score higher on tests of empathy than men, leading researchers to examine a potential role for […]

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