A crisis of (p) values

I remember a sense of defeat when I started learning about research methodology. I enrolled in psychology brimming with questions, but instead of getting answers, there was this statistics course that seemed to be just caveat after caveat after caveat about what we’re allowed to conclude from data. You should have a representative sample, but … [Read more…]

The search for intelligence in the brain

Being intelligent is about being good at many things. Intelligence researchers assign a single number to a diverse constellation of aptitudes, and this single number is the best across-the-board predictor of performance that differential psychology has ever yielded. Intuitively, there should be an ability behind this constellation: the more of this ability people have, the … [Read more…]

Best research practices: A New Year’s resolution

Kia Nobre’s Brain and Cognition Lab recently discussed best research practices. Ana’s list of suggestions was accepted as a starting point, and the discussion continued from there. Overall, the atmosphere was of easy acceptance of new research practices that will hopefully enhance the reliability of our findings and conclusions. We noted that the general lack of theoretical coherence in the … [Read more…]

Why do we perform median splits?

When my son was born, friends and family embarked on a furious attempt to answer the most important question of all: who does he look like? The kid has his own combination of features, but people would be strongly convinced he looks just like one of us. And on average, these estimations were random! Like any new … [Read more…]

Do psychologists need brains?

The brain has taken over. The real genius of Albert Einstein’s brain! Is your brain depressed? Why our brains are addicted to fast food! How does the brain form original ideas? One of these days, someone is bound to write that paper: What is it like to be a brain? Until recently, the focus of … [Read more…]

Je suis Reviewer #2

I was recently invited to review a manuscript for a journal I follow regularly. The content was right along the lines of my kind of research, and I was happy to accept. I was, of course, Reviewer Number Two. I always have been, in each of my fifteen-ish reviewing experiences. But this was the first … [Read more…]

Replication crisis summary

Neuroscientific research suffers from small subject samples, lack of theory and lack of consensus on data analysis protocols. This leads to experiments with p-values that contain large errors of measurement, where publication is selectively limited to those that (sometimes randomly) fall below 0.05. Such a situation leads to any one study result being unreliable, which … [Read more…]