Is there really a replication crisis in science? And is there really a problem with the reliability and validity of the published literature?

A tiny post here (30 words) linking to another blog on problems with the published scientific literature attracted lots of hits – and left me wondering about the vexed issue of replication and reproducibility (these are not the same things) in science, and what these things mean for the working scientist. I should clarify that there is a certainly a… Read More

Two very different writers who passed in 2013: Norman Geras and Colin Wilson

Norman Geras, who wrote the wonderful Normblog died in October 2013. I didn’t know him personally, although we exchanged a few emails (principally for his movie polls). His blog was always enjoyable, and beautifully-written. Norm was principally a political philosopher and political historian. His critical and analytic skills were remarkable, and he was possessed of an especial clarity… Read More

A summary of the evidence that most published research is false | Simply Statistics

A ‘must-read’ piece on two major ideas wandering about the literature at the moment, namely that: Most published research is false There is a reproducibility crisis in science via A summary of the evidence that most published research is false. Related articles A summary of the evidence that most published research is false (simplystatistics.org) Biomedical… Read More

Exercise, but not environmental enrichment, improves learning after kainic acid-induced hippocampal neurodegeneration in association with an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

Take-home message: further evidence that aerobic exercise provides substantial neuroprotection against brain insult, even if there are equivalent losses of neurons in key brain regions compared to sedentary controls. [Download the paper] Much more on exercise. Exercise, but not environmental enrichment, improves learning after kainic acid-induced hippocampal neurodegeneration in association with an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic… Read More

The best graphic and gratuitious displays

Originally posted on Mind Hacks:
Forget your end of year run-downs and best of 2013 photo specials, it doesn’t get much better than this: ‘The 15 Best Behavioural Science Graphs of 2010-13’ from the Stirling Behavioural Science Blog. As to be expected, some are a little better than others (well, Rolling Stone chose a Miley…

Automated spike sorting algorithm based on Laplacian eigenmaps and k-means clustering.

Take-home message: spike-sorting is a difficult and time-consuming process involving a combination of operator judgement and automated processing. Here, we propose a robust method of automatic spike sorting based on the combination of Laplacian eigenmaps (LE) feature extraction and the k-means clustering algorithm. The performance of the proposed method is compared with systems based on simple amplitude features and on PCA-derived features.… Read More

Deep layer prefrontal cortex unit discharge in a cue-controlled open-field environment in the freely-moving rat.

Take-home message: Prefrontal unit discharge principally reflects ongoing behavioural activity – what the rat was attending to or doing, rather than spatial position. Thus, prefrontal units show mixed responsivity, rather than a simple and single correlate. [Download the paper] Deep layer prefrontal cortex unit discharge in a cue-controlled open-field environment in the freely-moving rat. Behav Brain… Read More

Stability of subicular place fields across multiple light and dark transitions.

Stability of subicular place fields across multiple light and dark transitions. Take-home message: subicular place cells have larger and coarser place cells than CA1 cells; a plurality of subicular cells are stable across multiple light-dark-light transitions, however (not too dissimilar to CA1 cells).  [Download the paper.] Eur J Neurosci. 2010 Aug;32(4):648-58. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2010.07308.x. Brotons-Mas JR,… Read More

Responses of dorsal subicular neurons of rats during object exploration in an extended environment.

Take-home message: subicular neurons appeared to reflect speed and movement correlates, rather than the presence of novel objects during object exploration in an extended environment (and if you squint at the figures, you might see a ‘patch-like’ distribution of activity present, which might just be undersampling, or *maybe* coarse grid-like cells, given the big input… Read More