The dangers of “slippery slope” arguments against pseudoscience.

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who_are_you_who_are_so_wise_st

  It is easy to get scientists riled up by staking out an “us” vs. “them” position in which “we” are the rational, methodical people who value empirical evidence over intuition whereas “they” are the … Read More

What’s it like to be a brain?

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I started reading Elizabeth Costello because the premise was irresistible to me: an academic who, when invited to give talks about her literary work, gives herself over to impassioned sermons on vegetarianism. I have often … Read More

Hearing with a foreign accent

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Snellen-Chart-Long-Distant-Vision-Testing-Charts

claimtoken-51656045da7eb Although I knew I wanted to do cognitive neuroscience from early on in my graduate training, it would be years before I actually started taking pictures of brains with a giant magnet. Part of … Read More

A Story Behind a Paper – Part I

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Three-Eyed Frog Data

Happy New Year! I let The Magnet quench over the holidays, and am firing it back up with something a little bit different. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be doing a longish series inspired … Read More

MOOCs as capital-biased technological change

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X7Q73MX48QHW Last week my Twitter feed briefly turned into a kind of massively open online course about MOOCs, in response to this¬†thoughtful critique by Aaron Bady of an earlier post by Clay Shirky advancing an … Read More

Implied audience in high-profile psychology papers: Beyond the “nice lady on the subway.”

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mynameisjay

My dad emailed to say he didn’t quite follow last week’s post. I did a gut check and decided I was OK with this. Part of what I’m trying to do with this blog is … Read More

It is not enough that Marcus succeed, Hinton must also fail.

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dschinghis

In the New Yorker’s Newsdesk blog last week, Gary Marcus expresses his skepticism of “deep learning,” an approach to artificial intelligence pioneered by Geoffrey Hinton that received some unusually high-profile coverage in the Times. I … Read More

I’m all for replications and reporting of null results, but what about the bees?

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A bee at work

I may have seemed a bit hard on meta-analysis last week, but I should say that there’s really no way to mount a good scientific argument without some form of it. You have to consider … Read More

If America’s Boyfriend were a Cognitive Neuroscientist…

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flat map of the US

Last week, America’s Boyfriend Nate Silver made meta-analysis cool beyond belief. The image of a lone geek, sitting at the end of a vast pipeline of data, and turning it into something everyone wants to … Read More

Diversity of Tactics in the Neurobiology of Language

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Monte Igueldo

If you are looking for something to eat in San Sebasti√†n early in the evening — as you might be if you were, like me, a jet-lagged scientist forced to walk in the dark to … Read More

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