Most brain imaging papers fail to provide enough methodological detail to allow replication Amidst recent fraud scandals in social psychology and other sciences, leading academics are calling for a greater emphasis to be placed on the replicability of research. "Replication is our best friend because it keeps us honest," wrote the psychologists Chris Chambers and Petroc Sumner recently. For replication to be possible, scientists need to provide sufficient methodological detail in their papers for other labs to copy their procedures. Focusing specifically on fMRI-based brain imaging research (a field that's no stranger to controversy), University of Michigan psychology grad student Joshua Carp has reported a worrying observation - the vast majority of papers he sampled failed to provide enough methodological detail to allow other labs to replicate their work.
Walking Through Doorways Causes Forgetting We’ve all experienced it: The frustration of entering a room and forgetting what we were going to do. Or get. Or find. Contemplative Science and Practice: "How to Do Research You Love" Padam-lama Vajrasattva Heruka, Dorje Sempa with Vajragarvi In early January I presented a lecture on "Contemplative Science and Practice: How to Do Research You Love" to the Faculty Forum at the Wright Institute. I told my personal story (how a meeting with Paul Ekman, the world-famous emotion researcher upon whom the TV series "Lie to me" was based, directed me to Tibetan Buddhism and a Tibetan Buddhist practice). I told a research story, and provided an overview of current findings in contemplative science, including the findings from our own lab at the Wright Institute, the Emotion, Personality and Altruism Research Group (EPARG) ( A few days later, an opinion piece appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Owen Flanagan, essentially trashing what he called "Hocus-Pocus Buddhism." I wish Flanagan had let us in on how he came to his conclusion.
Why We May Never Beat Stigma When public figures want to display penitence for their bad choices—see under "Woods, Tiger" and "Gibson, Mel"—they go to rehab. Whether the problem is extramarital affairs, plagiarism or even racism, crying addiction has become an all-purpose excuse. This month saw the “Lying Dutchman”—a top social psychologist who was found to have published over 55 fraudulent academic papers, including one in the prestigious journal Science—release a memoir calling his data fakery an addiction. Shock study, replicates Milgram's findings Nearly 50 years after the controversial Milgram experiments, social psychologist Jerry M. Burger, PhD, has found that people are still just as willing to administer what they believe are painful electric shocks to others when urged on by an authority figure. Burger, a professor at Santa Clara University, replicated one of the famous obedience experiments of the late Stanley Milgram, PhD, and found that compliance rates in the replication were only slightly lower than those found by Milgram. And, like Milgram, he found no difference in the rates of obedience between men and women. "People learning about Milgram's work often wonder whether results would be any different today," Burger says. "Many point to the lessons of the Holocaust and argue that there is greater societal awareness of the dangers of blind obedience.
from 3 to 4D observation A film for a wide audience! Nine chapters, two hours of maths, that take you gradually up to the fourth dimension. Mathematical vertigo guaranteed! Background information on every chapter: see "Details". Click on the image on the left to watch the trailer ! (turn your speakers on please). Research finds 'US effect' exaggerates results in human behaviour studies Scientists who study human behaviour are more likely than average to report exaggerated or eye-catching results if they are based in the United States, according to an analysis of more than 1,000 research papers in psychiatry and genetics. This bias could be due to the research culture in the US, authors of the analysis said, which tends to preferentially reward scientists for the novelty and immediate impact of a piece of work over the quality or its long-term contribution to the field. Daniele Fanelli, University of Edinburgh, one of the authors of the latest analysis, said that there was intense competition in the US for research funds and, subsequently, pressure to report novel findings in prestigious, high-impact scientific journals. "We don't know what causes the US effect but we think the most likely explanation is that it's about the research environment in the US," he says.
How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood - Alexis C. Madrigal If you use Netflix, you've probably wondered about the specific genres that it suggests to you. Some of them just seem so specific that it's absurd. Emotional Fight-the-System Documentaries? Period Pieces About Royalty Based on Real Life? Foreign Satanic Stories from the 1980s? neuroscience of Imagination Albert Einstein said of the theory of relativity, "I thought of it while riding my bicycle." Anyone who exercises regularly knows that your thinking process changes when you are walking, jogging, biking, swimming, riding the elliptical trainer, etc. New ideas tend to bubble up and crystallize when you are inside the aerobic zone.
Journal Impact Factors Every summer my e-mail is enlivened by people and organizations writing about the latest journal impact factors (IF). Because I chair the APS Publications Committee, I have always done my best to feign deep interest about IFs. I know many people take them very seriously, but the truth is, I have never cared about them too much, although I do look at them. Improbable research: The Limerick laureate works his magic In 2003, an independent scholar from New Jersey began submitting limericks for a competition in mini-AIR, the monthly online supplement to my magazine, Annals of Improbable Research. The contest challenges readers to read an off-putting scholarly citation, and explain it in limerick form. Martin Eiger so consistently won that we eventually banned him as an unfair competitor, gave him the title Limerick laureate, and now publish him every month. He handles a huge range of subject matter. An early Eiger limerick summarised a Japanese study called Pharmacological Aspects of Ipecac Syrup (TJN-119) - Induced Emesis in Ferrets: If you're hoping to hash out a thesis,And stuck for a topic: emesis,As triggered in ferretsUndoubtedly meritsMuch more than a mere exegesis.
Trendspotter: The brain-scan job interview A few years back, it became fashionable to test yourself against the questions that candidates are asked at interview when they go for a job at Google. “How many piano tuners are there in the world?” “How many golf balls can fit into a jumbo jet?” “How would you weigh your own head?” These kind of questions became synonymous with the legendarily tough Google hiring process. The idea is to see a candidate’s problem-solving skills in action, but in June Google’s senior vice-president of people operations, Laszlo Block, told The New York Times that the company no longer uses brainteasers at interview, saying they had proved ineffective: “They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart,” said Block.
RETRACTED: Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize This article has been retracted: please see Elsevier Policy on Article Withdrawal ( The journal Food and Chemical Toxicology retracts the article “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize,” which was published in this journal in November 2012. This retraction comes after a thorough and time-consuming analysis of the published article and the data it reports, along with an investigation into the peer-review behind the article.
making universes machine Next month, one of the world's fastest supercomputers will run the largest, most complex universe simulation ever attempted. Argonne National Laboratory Cosmology is the most ambitious of sciences. Its goal, plainly stated, is to describe the origin, evolution, and structure of the entire universe, a universe that is as enormous as it is ancient. Surprisingly, figuring out what the universe used to look like is the easy part of cosmology.