Mental Health & Society

Anyone remotely familiar with the scientific method understands that just like a ruler or a telescope, statistics is a tool. Scientists use the tool primarily for one purpose: To answer the question, "Is my data meaningful?" Properly used, statistics is one of science's most powerful tools. But used improperly, statistics can be highly misleading.
Nate Silver, statistician and election forecaster, told ABC News that election forecasts that gave Hillary Clinton a 99% of chance of winning didn't "pass a common sense test." That is certainly true. What he left unsaid -- possibly because it wouldn't be good for his career -- is that all election forecasts that provide a "chance of winning" don't pass the science test.
Ideology is a double-edged sword. Dedication to a set of beliefs can be admirable, but when it leads to inflexibility and obstinance in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it is a dangerous thing. Such ideological rigidity -- often found among the adherents of various philosophical, religious, and political doctrines -- can lead to the rejection of evidence-based inquiry, which serves as the bedrock of modern science.
What is a scientific poll? First, it is a misnomer. There is nothing scientific about a poll. Second, it is conducted using sound statistical techniques. What's more, savvy politicos know that not just any poll will do.
A November 2015 report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ranked the top 10 large cities and top 10 small cities by their homeless populations. These counts were conducted on a single night in January. Topping these lists were ... 
Gallup's recent poll on race relations asked a loaded question and lacked a control group. This is a recipe for very bad social science.
There may be something about complementary sensations: sometimes we remember food or drink as tasting better because of the setting or the company. So what if, instead of alcohol making music sound better, it's the other way around?
Starting in middle age, the brains of obese people show startling differences as compared to those of normal weight, according to an analysis of fMRI images. White matter tissue connects regions of the brain and allows for information to be communicated between those regions.
In the fight against Alzheimer's, memory loss has kept its place as the frontrunner of early warning signs, but that may no longer hold true.
New survey data analysis finds that people who report even moderate pain are 41 percent more likely to develop an opioid addiction.
Even at 9 months, girls and boys are drawn to toys long associated with genders.
A new editorial in the Annals of Neurology details that stimulation affects more of the brain than anyone may realize, and that could lead to altered brain functions. Stimulating one brain area may improve the ability to perform one task, but it could also hurt the ability to perform another.