fourteen questions about selection bias, circularity, nonindependence, etc.

A new paper published online this week in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism this week discusses the infamous problem of circular analysis in fMRI research. The paper is aptly titled “Everything you never wanted to know about circular analysis, but were afraid to ask,” and is authored by several well-known biostatisticians and … Continue reading fourteen questions about selection bias, circularity, nonindependence, etc.

estimating bias in text with Ruby

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working on and off on a collaboration with my good friend Nick Holtzman and some other folks that focuses on ways to automatically extract bias from text using a vector space model. The paper is still in progress, so I won’t give much away here, except to … Continue reading estimating bias in text with Ruby

not really a pyramid scheme; maybe a giant cesspool of little white lies?

There’s a long tradition in the academic blogosphere (and the offlinesphere too, I presume) of complaining that academia is a pyramid scheme. In a strict sense, I guess you could liken academia to a pyramid scheme, inasmuch as there are fewer open positions at each ascending level, and supply generally exceeds demand. But as The … Continue reading not really a pyramid scheme; maybe a giant cesspool of little white lies?

and the runner up is…

This one’s a bit of a head-scratcher. Thomson-Reuters just released its 2009 Journal Citation Report–essentially a comprehensive ranking of scientific journals by their impact factor (IF). The odd part, as reported by Bob Grant in The Scientist, is that the journal with the second-highest IF is Acta Crystallographica – Section A–ahead of heavyweights like the … Continue reading and the runner up is…

time-on-task effects in fMRI research: why you should care

There’s a ubiquitous problem in experimental psychology studies that use behavioral measures that require participants to make speeded responses. The problem is that, in general, the longer people take to do something, the more likely they are to do it correctly. If I have you do a visual search task and ask you to tell … Continue reading time-on-task effects in fMRI research: why you should care

elsewhere on the net

Some neat links from the past few weeks: You Are No So Smart: A celebration of self-delusion. An excellent blog by journalist David McCraney that deconstructs common myths about the way the mind works. NPR has a great story by Jon Hamilton about the famous saga of Einstein’s brain and what it’s helped teach us … Continue reading elsewhere on the net

fMRI, not coming to a courtroom near you so soon after all

That’s a terribly constructed title, I know, but bear with me. A couple of weeks ago I blogged about a courtroom case in Tennessee where the defense was trying to introduce fMRI to the courtroom as a way of proving the defendant’s innocence (his brain, apparently, showed no signs of guilt). The judge’s verdict is … Continue reading fMRI, not coming to a courtroom near you so soon after all

the perils of digging too deep

Another in a series of posts supposedly at the intersection of fiction and research methods, but mostly just an excuse to write ridiculous stories and pretend they have some sort of moral. Dr. Rickles the postdoc looked a bit startled when I walked into his office. He was eating a cheese sandwich and watching a … Continue reading the perils of digging too deep