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Scientists Discover fMRI Area of the Brain
November 18, 2011 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Are you tired of reading about how neuroscientists have discovered the area of the brain devoted to a single, oddly-specific function, but lack access to the sophisticated neuroimaging technologies needed to refute them? NeuroSynth has you covered.

NeuroSynth is a "platform for automatically synthesizing the results of many different neuroimaging studies." Using data mined from over 4,000 imaging studies, NeuroSynth performs a rapid meta-analysis showing brain regions associated with specific terms.

Examples:
Sad. Happy.
Win. Losses.
Planning. Action.
posted by logicpunk (12 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
The lead author on the Nature Methods paper (paywall) describing the methods of that website is Tal Yarkoni. He runs an amusing blog called [citation needed] where he talks about a mix of personal and science topics (including NeuroSynth).

It's well worth checking out.

There are a lot of people working on synthesizing neuroscience data (myself included). Russ Poldrack is also doing amazing things in this area. (You might remember Russ, Tal, and I as being co-signers on our letter to the NYT about their "you love your iPhone" crap.)

I'm convinced this is the future of neuroscience: we have so. much. data. We need ways of algorithmically integrating it all.

See also:
* PubBrain
* Cogntive Atlas
* brainSCANr
posted by bradleyvoytek at 11:28 AM on November 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


This is really neat. My favorite feature is the coactivation mapping; just clicking around on the brain and seeing what other areas are active at the same time really gives a feel for what's connected to what. Example: seed from primary auditory cortex, you get coactivation in the thalamus, cerebellum, frontal cortex, etc. etc. Seed from primary visual cortex, you get occipital, parietal, and inferior temporal cortex, but basically nothing in the cerebellum.
posted by IjonTichy at 11:45 AM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I only use the latest neurophrenophotographical research to decide where I should hit people when I smack them upside the head. So this should come in handy if I want to knock something specific into someone.
posted by srboisvert at 1:14 PM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


neuroscientists Science journalists have discovered the area of the brain devoted to a single, oddly-specific function
posted by stroke_count at 1:16 PM on November 18, 2011


This is hardly a new complaint, in fact I'm feeling kinda Andy Rooneyish right now, but: didja ever notice how whenever a neuroscientific "fact" gets cited in a news article, the "answer" to the "question" suddenly acquires an additional 77.9 kilograms of gravitas?
posted by kozad at 2:07 PM on November 18, 2011


kozad & stroke_count... this isn't talking about science journalists making any claim. This post shows an amazing meta-analytic resource that's trying to sift through all the crap and distill the research into something more meaningful.

And kozad, people do in fact believe research more when it's accompanied by "brain pictures". Bah.

My scientific field is dangerously close to jumping the shark.
posted by bradleyvoytek at 2:34 PM on November 18, 2011


I think it's amazing resource. I applaud the effort to synthesize brain imaging findings. It should counteract the tendency to make unsupported claims instead. Meanwhile, I just hope neuroscientists don't acquire a reputation for doing less rigorous science due to the irresponsible claims of journalists who somehow think pictures of brains justify stronger conclusions.
posted by stroke_count at 3:45 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My scientific field is dangerously close to jumping the shark.

I blame social neuroscience.
posted by logicpunk at 4:57 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish I could give the title of this post its own favorite.
posted by en forme de poire at 5:06 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Appropo neuroscience jumping the shark, I just finished this book by Raymond Tallis, a physician, philosopher and writer in England who feels it already may have, or at least is getting up on the skis.
posted by carping demon at 9:14 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm somewhat confused as to why color doesn't light up the occipital lobe.
posted by effugas at 9:41 PM on November 18, 2011


This post shows an amazing meta-analytic resource that's trying to sift through all the crap and distill the research into something more meaningful.

It's a bit like a million monkeys typing though. If the studies are flawed the solution isn't to say "Moar flawed studies!" and start Piling higher and deeper. Meta-analysis is just too alchemical for me with its attempt to transmute poop into gold via accumulation and distillation.

It's early days and maybe the neuro-gullibility will settle down when the expected miracle returns don't arrive or the next cool faddish thing comes along (embodied cognition?). Me, I miss the entirely pointless fabricated topographical memory maps of the neural net fad.
posted by srboisvert at 5:01 AM on November 19, 2011


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