World’s Strangest

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Is There a Scientific Explanation for Justin Bieber?

For more than a century, social scientists have attempted to create a model that will accurately predict what images, songs, or memes will become popular. Now Gregory Berns, a neuroeconomist at Emory University, thinks that certain fMRI signatures in the brains of teenagers are reliable indicators of future popularity: The divination is performed with the help [...]

Brain Scan Used in Murder Sentencing

For the first time, evidence from an fMRI was introduced as evidence for the defense during the penalty phase of a murder trial. Brian Dugan was convicted in Chicago of the rape and murder of a ten-year-old. Dugan’s scan was introduced to show his brain was psychopathic. It is not clear how this information was [...]

Placebo Effect Caught on MRI

Not only is the placebo effect is becoming stronger, but it’s now been imaged for the first time by researchers with fMRI machines. Falk Eippert at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany led the study: Later, with an fMRI scanner on, the researchers rubbed “control” and “painkiller” creams onto two different spots on each volunteer’s [...]

Dead Salmon + MRI = Red Herring

Neuroscientist Craig Bennett bought a salmon to test an fMRI machine and work out some protocols. So, as the fish sat in the scanner, they showed it “a series of photographs depicting human individuals in social situations.” To maintain the rigor of the protocol (and perhaps because it was hilarious), the salmon, just like a human [...]