A hard look at neuroscience research from The Economist


Sample sizes in neurological research are often too small to draw general conclusions.

Marcus Munafo, from the University of Bristol, and his colleagues analyzed hundreds of neuroscience studies to determine their “statistical power”.  If the researchers’ figures are accurate—and if the 12-month period they looked at is representative of neuroscience research in general—then the implications are alarming. Bluntly, much of the published neuroscientific research is likely to be reporting effects, correlations and “facts” that are simply not real. At the same time, real phenomena are going unnoticed.

Understanding the brain is the most important opportunity of our lifetime.  It’s afflictions and treatments can no longer be based on hypothesis, trial and error.  Let’s not miss it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.