Blog Profile / Neuroskeptic

Filed Under:Academics / Neuroscience
Posts on Regator:685
Posts / Week:1.5
Archived Since:January 19, 2009

Blog Post Archive

Scientific Papers Are Getting Less Readable

"The readability of scientific texts is decreasing over time", according to a new paper just out. Swedish researchers Pontus Plaven-Sigray and colleagues say that scientists today use longer and more complex words than those of the past, making their writing harder to read. Show More Summary

Update on the Journal of Stem Cells

In April, I called attention to what I saw as serious ethical and scientific problems with a biomedical journal, the Journal of Stem Cells. Now, this publication has been removed from a leading journal index. I wrote in April that: I have discovered evidence of plagiarism in two papers in the Journal... Show More Summary

Should Research Funding Be Distributed Equally Among Scientists?

Instead of making scientists compete for grants based on project proposals, research funding could simply be divided equally among all 'qualified' researchers, according to a new paper. Authors Krist Vaesen and Joel Katzav argue that...Show More Summary

The Myth of The 30 IQ Point "Communication Range"

Earlier this week I tweeted a link to a Quora post which, I felt, was rather silly. The post was a response to the question "Are people with very high IQs generally happy?" and it answered in the negative: Let’s say high IQ is a blessing which comes with a terrible price. Show More Summary

The "Unbearable Emptiness" of Science on Twitter?

The discussion of scientific papers on Twitter is largely dominated by spam bots, paid content promoters, and "monomaniacs" obsessed with a single issue. That's according to researchers Nicolas Robinson-Garcia and colleagues in a new...Show More Summary

Eteplirsen: A Curious Scientific Controversy

In April 2016, an FDA committee voted not to recommend acceptance of eteplirsen, a drug designed to treat muscular dystrophy. In September, however, the FDA did approve the drug, following a heated internal debate. This wasn't the end of the story, however. Show More Summary

"R-Factor" Unlikely To Fix Science

A new tool called the R-factor could help ensure that science is reproducible and valid, according to a preprint posted on biorxiv: Science with no fiction. The authors, led by Peter Grabitz, are so confident in their idea that they've created a company called Verum Analytics to promote it. Show More Summary

More on "Behavior Priming" and Unconscious Influences

Last year, psychologists B. Keith Payne and colleagues breathed new life into the debate over 'social priming' with a paper called Replicable effects of primes on human behavior. Behavioral or social priming - the idea that subtle cues...Show More Summary

Call of MRI: Action Video Games And The Brain

No sooner had I published my last post, on the much-discussed "women's brains are more active than men's" study, than another neuroscience paper triggered a fresh media storm. This time, the subject was videogames, and the headlinesShow More Summary

Female Brains Are More Active?

Another day, another over-hyped sex differences neuroscience study. The headlines this time around are especially cringeworthy: Study Finds Women’s Brains Are Far More Active Than Men’s Women Are Using A LOT More Of Their Brains Than Men. Show More Summary

Spreadsheet Risks in Science

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. AlTarawneh and Thorne conducted...Show More Summary

Can PhD Students Write Review Papers?

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...Show More Summary

Are Underpowered Studies Ever Justified?

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. Show More Summary

Three Kinds of Human Smiles

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. Here's the authors' illustration of the types, as posed...Show More Summary

Predatory Journals Hit By 'Star Wars' Sting

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. Show More Summary

Is Neuroscience Underpowered? "Power Failure" Revisited

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...Show More Summary

The "Eleven Dimensional" Brain? Topology of Neural Networks

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...Show More Summary

Researchers Apologize For Writing "Derpy" In A Paper

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. In April 2016, Archives of Sexual Behavior published a piece...Show More Summary

"Brain Training" Doesn't Work?

Lumosity "brain training" games have no beneficial effects on cognition, according to a paper just published in the Journal of Neuroscience. According to the authors, led by UPenn psychologist Joseph W. Kable, Lumosity "appears to have...Show More Summary

Political Neuroscience: "Growth Mindsets" and Disability

On Twitter, I learned that the British government is citing neuroscience studies as part of a new welfare initiative. The "Health and Work Conversation" (HWC) is a newly-introduced procedure for welfare claimants receiving support because sickness or disability impairs their ability to work. Show More Summary

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