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It's a Blog. It has Stuff on it. Some of the Stuff is Professional and some of it is Personal, but most of it is Not Very Good.

Tal Yarkoni
16 posts

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  • April 25, 2012
  • 01:45 PM

Sixteen is not magic: Comment on Friston (2012)

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

In a “comments and controversies” piece published in NeuroImage last week, Karl Friston describes “Ten ironic rules for non-statistical reviewers”. As the title suggests, the piece is presented ironically; Friston frames it as a series of guidelines reviewers can follow in order to ensure successful rejection of any neuroimaging paper. But of course, Friston’s real [...]... Read more »

  • February 8, 2012
  • 03:07 AM

a human and a monkey walk into an fMRI scanner…

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

Tor Wager and I have a “news and views” piece in Nature Methods this week; we discuss a paper by Mantini and colleagues (in the same issue) introducing a new method for identifying functional brain homologies across different species–essentially, identifying brain regions in humans and monkeys that seem to do roughly the same thing even if they’re [...]... Read more »

  • December 18, 2011
  • 12:22 AM

large-scale data exploration, MIC-style

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

Real-world data are messy. Relationships between two variables can take on an infinite number of forms, and while one doesn’t see, say, umbrella-shaped data very often, strange things can happen. When scientists talk about correlations or associations between variables, they’re usually referring to one very specific form of relationship–namely, a linear one. The assumption is [...]... Read more »

Reshef DN, Reshef YA, Finucane HK, Grossman SR, McVean G, Turnbaugh PJ, Lander ES, Mitzenmacher M, & Sabeti PC. (2011) Detecting novel associations in large data sets. Science (New York, N.Y.), 334(6062), 1518-24. PMID: 22174245  

  • January 10, 2011
  • 03:52 AM

The psychology of parapsychology, or why good researchers publishing good articles in good journals can still get it totally wrong

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

Unless you’ve been pleasantly napping under a rock for the last couple of months, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about a forthcoming article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (JPSP) purporting to provide strong evidence for the existence of some ESP-like phenomenon. (If you’ve been napping, see here, here, here, here, here, [...]... Read more »

Bem, D. J. (2011) Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. info:/

  • August 16, 2010
  • 12:25 AM

trouble with biomarkers and press releases

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

The latest issue of the Journal of Neuroscience contains an interesting article by Ecker et al in which the authors attempted to classify people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and health controls based on their brain anatomy, and report achieving “a sensitivity and specificity of up to 90% and 80%, respectively.” Before unpacking what that [...]... Read more »

Ecker C, Marquand A, Mourão-Miranda J, Johnston P, Daly EM, Brammer MJ, Maltezos S, Murphy CM, Robertson D, Williams SC.... (2010) Describing the brain in autism in five dimensions--magnetic resonance imaging-assisted diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder using a multiparameter classification approach. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30(32), 10612-23. PMID: 20702694  

  • July 7, 2010
  • 03:46 AM

what the Dunning-Kruger effect is and isn’t

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

If you regularly read cognitive science or psychology blogs (or even just the lowly New York Times!), you’ve probably heard of something called the Dunning-Kruger effect. The Dunning-Kruger effect refers to the seemingly pervasive tendency of poor performers to overestimate their abilities relative to other people–and, to a lesser extent, for high performers to underestimate [...]... Read more »

  • June 28, 2010
  • 02:19 AM

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

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

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 [...]... Read more »

Kriegeskorte N, Lindquist MA, Nichols TE, Poldrack RA, & Vul E. (2010) Everything you never wanted to know about circular analysis, but were afraid to ask. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. PMID: 20571517  

  • June 16, 2010
  • 04:48 AM

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

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

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 [...]... Read more »

  • May 19, 2010
  • 02:11 AM

a possible link between pesticides and ADHD

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

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 [...]... Read more »

  • April 23, 2010
  • 05:08 PM

cognitive training doesn’t work (much, if at all)

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

There’s a beautiful paper in Nature this week by Adrian Owen and colleagues that provides what’s probably as close to definitive evidence as you can get in any single study that “brain training” programs don’t work. Or at least, to the extent that they do work, the effects are so weak they’re probably not worth [...]... Read more »

Owen AM, Hampshire A, Grahn JA, Stenton R, Dajani S, Burns AS, Howard RJ, & Ballard CG. (2010) Putting brain training to the test. Nature. PMID: 20407435  

  • March 12, 2010
  • 10:20 PM

fMRI becomes big, big science

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

There are probably lots of criteria you could use to determine the relative importance of different scientific disciplines, but the one I like best is the Largest Number of Authors on a Paper. Physicists have long had their hundred-authored papers (see for example this individual here; be sure to click on the “show all authors/affiliations” [...]... Read more »

Biswal, B., Mennes, M., Zuo, X., Gohel, S., Kelly, C., Smith, S., Beckmann, C., Adelstein, J., Buckner, R., Colcombe, S.... (2010) Toward discovery science of human brain function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(10), 4734-4739. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0911855107  

  • March 5, 2010
  • 10:44 PM

functional MRI and the many varieties of reliability

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

Craig Bennett and Mike Miller have a new paper on the reliability of fMRI. It’s a nice review that I think most people who work with fMRI will want to read. Bennett and Miller discuss a number of issues related to reliability, including why we should care about the reliability of fMRI, what factors influence [...]... Read more »

Bennett, C. M., & Miller, M. B. (2010) How reliable are the results from functional magnetic resonance imaging?. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. info:/

  • February 27, 2010
  • 01:50 AM

what’s adaptive about depression?

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

Jonah Lehrer has an interesting article in the NYT magazine about a recent Psych Review article by Paul Andrews and J. Anderson Thomson. The basic claim Andrews and Thomson make in their paper is that depression is “an adaptation that evolved as a response to complex problems and whose function is to minimize disruption of [...]... Read more »

  • February 4, 2010
  • 03:57 AM

internet use causes depression! or not.

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

I have a policy of not saying negative things about people (or places, or things) on this blog, and I think I’ve generally been pretty good about adhering to that policy. But I also think it’s important for scientists to speak up in cases where journalists or other scientists misrepresent scientific research in a way [...]... Read more »

  • January 18, 2010
  • 12:59 AM

how to measure 200 personality scales in 200 items

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

One of the frustrating things about personality research–for both researchers and participants–is that personality is usually measured using self-report questionnaires, and filling out self-report questionnaires can take a very long time. It doesn’t have to take a very long time, mind you; some questionnaires are very short, like the widely-used Ten-Item Personality Inventory (TIPI), which [...]... Read more »

  • November 22, 2009
  • 02:35 AM

Ioannidis on effect size inflation, with guest appearance by Bozo the Clown

by Tal Yarkoni in citation needed

Andrew Gelman posted a link on his blog today to a paper by John Ioannidis I hadn’t seen before. In many respects, it’s basically the same paper I wrote earlier this year as a commentary on the Vul et al “voodoo correlations” paper (the commentary was itself based largely on an earlier chapter I wrote [...]... Read more »

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