conspirator23 writes: Jon Hamilton of National Public Radio brings us this story about "voodoo correlations" in fMRI studies that seek to learn more about emotional states, personality, and social cognition in the human brain. Many of us outside the scientific community have been treated to fascinating images of brain activity and corresponding explanations about how the images reveal which portions of the brain are engaged in certain kinds of thinking. But these images are not actual snapshots, they are visualizations of data generated by repeated scans during experiments. Flaws in the statistical methods used by researchers can result in false images with a variety of inaccuracies. Yet the images produced are so vivid and engaging that even other neuroscientists can be misled by them.
The computer can't tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact
mathematical design, but what's missing is the eyebrows.
- Frank Zappa