Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What is the most interesting part of the brain?

I don't know whether you've seen this in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, (06 December 2012) but it definitely looks as though you need to be "in fashion" to get ahead. Of course that's not entirely fair - progress and findings in some areas stimulates research and most investigators would argue that some areas areas just *are* more interesting.

Figure 1. (a) Distributions of activation frequency across the brain. Popular voxels are portrayed in red; unpopular ones in blue. (b) Frequency distribution of keywords describing experimental domains, paradigms, and functional contrasts

What is the most interesting part of the brain?

Timothy E.J. Behrens12Peter Fox3Angie Laird3* and Stephen M. Smith1
1 Functional MRI of the Brain Centre, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, OX3 9DU, UK
2 Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, 12 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3BG, UK
3 Research Imaging Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA
* Present address: Department of Physics, Florida International University, Modesto Maidique Campus, Miani, FL 33199, USA.


Creative ideas and rigorous analysis are the hallmarks of much impactful science. However, there is an oft-aired suspicion in the neuroscience community that some scientists start with an advantage, simply because of the brain region or behaviour they study. We tested this unstated hypothesis by regressing the journal impact factor against both the pattern of brain activity and the experimental keywords across thousands of brain imaging studies. We found the results to be illuminating.

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