Group Publication: Spectrum survey on 2021 conferences, Bayesian precision, paper assessment suggestions | Spectrum
Illustration by Laurène Boglio
Hello and welcome to this week’s community newsletter! I am your host, Chelsey B. Coombs, the engagement editor of Spectrum.
Before we start, I’d like to let you know about a new Spectrum survey. We are interested to hear how autism researchers approach conferences by the end of the year. Are you ready to step back into the crowd at this season’s conferences? Or will you watch the action from your lab (or couch)? Let us know and keep an eye out for a Spectrum article on how the industry feels about future face-to-face meetings.
Daniel Yon, professor of psychology at Goldsmiths University of London in the UK, and Chris Frith, professor emeritus of neuropsychology at University College London, wrote online this week about the importance of precision in ideas about the “Bayesian brain”.
When Bayesian brain theories speak of “precision,” what exactly do they mean? In @CurrentBiology @cdfrith & I explain how precision has shaped thinking about perception, learning, metacognition and social interaction. But some key puzzles remain unsolved https://t.co/lYV6SvSilq
– Daniel Yon (@danieljamesyon) September 13, 2021
Bayesian brain theory states that humans and animals weigh prior knowledge and in-depth information about reliability – and act based on what they consider most reliable or accurate. It is about assessing uncertainty, the authors write, and it is of direct relevance to autism.
“Characteristics of autism, such as a preference for stable and repetitive environments, can be defined as a consequence of overly strong beliefs about the accuracy of in-depth evidence, so any fluctuation in our sensory systems seems to signal the need to change our models of. to change the environment (and the world therefore appears unstable), ”the authors write.
Autism researcher Uta Frith, a retired professor of cognitive development at University College London who is married to Chris Frith, tweeted about the study.
An introduction that explains why “precision” has become such an important term in the theory of how the brain works.
Access the final version of the paper for free (until November 2nd) via this release link: https://t.co/yC8FizH2uT… https://t.co/nHQSPjOJS3
– Uta Frith (@utafrith) September 14, 2021
Micah Allen, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University in Denmark, praised the paper.
Extremely useful paper – well done!
– Micah Allen (@micahgallen) September 13, 2021
Sven De Maeyer, Professor of Education at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, tweeted about the paper’s connection with Bayesian statistical modeling.
Nice introduction to a subject that I was less familiar with. Also interesting to read to draw analogies when it comes to Bayesian statistical modeling. https://t.co/PYIYqfMqnh
– Sven De Maeyer (@svawa) September 13, 2021
Our next thread this week is from David Mandell, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and Editor-in-Chief of Autism. He tweeted that magazine reviewers should be kind as they are shaping “the next generation” of academics.
I am a magazine editor. Got a rating for a paper that was fair but tough. I softened the language before sending it back. I declined the work, but the writer, who is a student, thanked me for the helpful comments. Reviewers, be kind. Your words shape the next generation.
– David Mandell (@DSMandell) September 15, 2021
Many researchers brought in their own experience with reviewers.
Naomi Ekas, associate professor of psychology at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, tweeted about the harsh criticism of a paper that eventually became her most cited paper.
I got an R&R one time and the editor said “ignore reviewer 2 but just get in touch with reviewer 3.” Reviewer 2 had one sentence that just said, “This is not good enough. Decline. “Soooo helpful ???? Oddly enough, it’s now my most cited paper
– NaomiEkas (@EkasNaomi) September 16, 2021
Alycia Halladay, Chief Science Officer at the Autism Science Foundation, tweeted, “You are my inspiration for feedback on ASF applications.”
Thanks very much! They are my inspiration for feedback on ASF applications. All the applications we receive have something positive about them, we simply cannot finance them all and we want the scholarship holders to keep trying and not be discouraged. It’s a jungle out there.
– Alycia Halladay (@AHalladayASF) September 15, 2021
Jessica Dark, a PhD student in organizational psychology at Birbeck, University of London, wrote about her own positive testimonials with an autism journal.
It seems I’ve been so lucky so far. I sent my master’s research to a well-known autism journal for review. They declined and explained why, but they also encouraged me to write and asked me to resubmit future work. This is how reviews should be!
– Jessica Dark PhD (@phd_dark) September 16, 2021
Don’t forget to sign up for our September 28 webinar, where Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, will share goals in developing new drugs for autism – and the barriers researchers face can.
That’s it for this week’s community newsletter! If you have any suggestions for interesting social contributions in the field of autism research, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We meet next week!