Coyne on adaptive rumination theory (again)

A while ago I blogged about Andrews and Thomson’s *adaptive rumination hypothesis* (ARH) of depression, which holds that depression is an evolutionary adaption designed to help us solve difficult problems. I linked to two critiques of ARH by Jerry Coyne, who is clearly no fan of ARH. Coyne’s now taken his argument to the [pages … Continue reading Coyne on adaptive rumination theory (again)

academic bloggers on blogging

Is it wise for academics to blog? Depends on who you ask. Scott Sumner summarizes his first year of blogging this way: Be careful what you wish for. ┬áLast February 2nd I started this blog with very low expectations. ┬áDuring the first three weeks most of the comments were from Aaron Jackson and Bill Woolsey. … Continue reading academic bloggers on blogging

a possible link between pesticides and ADHD

A forthcoming article in the journal Pediatrics that’s been getting a lot of press attention suggests that exposure to common pesticides may be associated with a substantially elevated risk of ADHD. More precisely, what the study found was that elevated urinary concentrations of organophosphate metabolites were associated with an increased likelihood of meeting criteria for … Continue reading a possible link between pesticides and ADHD

fMRI: coming soon to a courtroom near you?

Science magazine has a series of three (1, 2, 3) articles by Greg Miller over the past few days covering an interesting trial in Tennessee. The case itself seems like garden variety fraud, but the novel twist is that the defense is trying to introduce fMRI scans into the courtroom in order to establish the … Continue reading fMRI: coming soon to a courtroom near you?

in defense of three of my favorite sayings

Seth Roberts takes issue with three popular maxims that (he argues) people use “to push away data that contradicts this or that approved view of the world”. He terms this preventive stupidity. I’m a frequent user of all three sayings, so I suppose that might make me preventively stupid; but I do feel like I … Continue reading in defense of three of my favorite sayings

the capricious nature of p < .05, or why data peeking is evil

There’s a time-honored tradition in the social sciences–or at least psychology–that goes something like this. You decide on some provisional number of subjects you’d like to run in your study; usually it’s a nice round number like twenty or sixty, or some number that just happens to coincide with the sample size of the last … Continue reading the capricious nature of p < .05, or why data peeking is evil

de Waal and Ferrari on cognition in humans and animals

Humans do many things that most animals can’t. That much no one would dispute. The more interesting and controversial question is just how many things we can do that most animals can’t, and just how many animal species can or can’t do the things we do. That question is at the center of a nice … Continue reading de Waal and Ferrari on cognition in humans and animals

in brief…

Some neat stuff from the past week or so: If you’ve ever wondered how to go about getting a commentary on an article published in a peer-reviewed journal, wonder no longer… you can’t. Or rather, you can, but it may not be worth your trouble. Rick Trebino explains. [new to me via A.C. Thomas, though … Continue reading in brief…

more on the absence of brain training effects

A little while ago I blogged about the recent Owen et al Nature study on the (null) effects of cognitive training. My take on the study, which found essentially no effect of cognitive training on generalized cognitive performance, was largely positive. In response, Martin Walker, founder of Mind Sparke, maker of Brain Fitness Pro software, … Continue reading more on the absence of brain training effects

everything we know about the neural bases of cognitive control, in 20 review articles or less

Okay, not everything. But a lot of what we know. The current issue of Current Opinion in Neurobiology, which features a special focus on cognitive neuroscience, contains are almost 20 short review papers, most of which focus on the neural mechanisms of cognitive control in one guise or another. As the Editors of the special … Continue reading everything we know about the neural bases of cognitive control, in 20 review articles or less