Somewhat Simple Science Summaries

Explanations of Assumptions, Jargon, and Methods Researchers Use
How to read a psychology or cognitive neuroscience paper

How do developmental psychologists think?

Want to learn how something works in psychology? Make it up!
One good way to discover how people learn to recognize objects is to invent new objects.

Can we diagnose autism using a brain scan?

Knowing about knowledge: Thoughts on the performance-competence distinction
Psychologists talk about a distinction between "performance," how people perform on a lab task, and "competence," or their actual capability. Is this a valid distinction?

Primary vs. secondary deficits for newbies: What are they and why do they matter?
A primary deficit is the first one a person starts with. It comes first causally, genetically, neurologically, behaviorally, etc. A secondary deficit develops out of the primary deficit. The idea here is that the primary deficit alters a person's development and causes more problems to develop. The diagnostic traits of some disabilities, like inattention in ADHD, might actually be secondary.

How can you measure a non-speaking person's understanding of language?

What the #overlyhonestmethods tag tells us about the nature of science
Why "overly honest methods" will always be with us.

Heterogeneous and sometimes opposite connectivity patterns in autistic brains
Explanation of resting state functional connectivity.

Summaries of Specific Studies
What is joint attention, and are we defining it wrong?
Summary of Akhtar & Gernsbacher 2007 and Yu & Smith 2013.[open access]

What counts as an optimal outcome when autism is involved?
Summary of Fein et al., 2013 [open access]

Social anxiety: The elephant in the room of autism
Summary of Corbett et al., 2010 [open access]

Neurotypical babies' social behavior takes off as their attention to social input plummets: Why we should be wary of autism theories based on attention to people vs. objects
Summary of Jayaraman, Fausey, & Smith, 2015 [open access PDF], and Jayaraman, Fausey, & Smith, 2013 [meeting abstract].

Heterogeneous and sometimes opposite connectivity patterns in autistic brains
Summary of Hahamy, Behrmann & Malach, 2015

The difficulties of early diagnosis: Insights from Sally Ozonoff
Summary of a talk given at Northwestern University.

An autistic language strength and an example of bias in autism research (from the AAAS meeting)
Summary of a talk given at the 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting.

Cathy Lord's longitudinal autism study
Summary of a talk given at Northwestern University.

What the 2009 CDC report actually says
Summary of press release by Rice, 2009. [open access].

Another stroke against the "broken mirror" theory of autism
Summary of Haswell et al., 2009 [open access]

The case of the impartial autistic
Summary of Izuma et al., 2009 [open access]

3 interesting "embodied cognition papers" that aren't actually embodied
Summary of Spivey & Geng, 2001, Grant & Spivey, 2003, and Thomas & Lleras, 2009 [all open access]

What can functional connectivity studies of the brain tell us about gender?
Summary of Weissman-Fogel et al., 2010 [open access]

General Things We Can Learn from Psychology and Neuroscience
"If x changes the brain!!!", when should we care?

How expertise changes the way you see

Intense focus on specific topics isn't unique to autism

Why do autistic people reverse pronouns?

How to talk to someone with hearing loss or auditory processing disorder