Scientific publishers *not* adding value

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A month ago, I wrote about things that bum me out in academia, and some antidotes against cynicism creep. It was actually one of my best-received blog posts, and I appreciate all the positive feedback, comments, and shares. In the last half year, we’ve had an absolutely terrible experience with a scientific journal, so let… Read more »

Which depression measure is best?

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A new paper published today in Lancet Psychiatry, led by Christopher Veal, reports findings from a systemic review of 450 clinical trials for unipolar and bipolar depression. Our results can be seen as trying to answer one of the oldest questions in the field of depression measurement: which of the over 200 measures is the… Read more »

Antidotes to cynicism creep in academia

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This is one of these blog posts that doesn’t read well if you stop halfway. First, I provide evidence that academia can look pretty broken: there is low-quality work everywhere you look, the peer-review system has long outlived its utility, and academic publishing is a dumpster fire. Add considerable work pressure, the publish-or-perish culture, and… Read more »

Blood tests for mental health problems

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A new paper was published yesterday on a blood test for schizophrenia, by the same research team that in 2021 published a paper on a blood test for depression. The papers and accompanying press release contain problematic language, and the general idea of a blood test for mental illness makes very little sense to me… Read more »

Fact-check: depression & temperatures study

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A new interesting paper was published 2 weeks ago on depression and temperature. I saw a news article about the paper today that I didn’t think captured the core findings particularly well — and I wasn’t happy with some of the authors’ conclusions either — so I briefly wanted to summarize these issues here. Study… Read more »

Is the ‘default mode network’ responsible for the mental health crisis in youth?

(Note: I wrote up this blog as a commentary, which is now published in the same journal as response to the editorial. PDF, DOI 10.31234/ The very short answer is: no, youth mental health problems are not generally due to the default mode network (DMN). But the editorial in Current Psychiatry that claims it may… Read more »

Does the d (disease) factor really exist?

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Mental health problems are comorbid, which means that they are positively intercorrelated and don’t tend to occur in isolation. Of all people diagnosed with major depression, for example, about half of them have at least one more comorbid mental health problem, such as generalized anxiety disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder. Now, the same holds for… Read more »

Using GPT-3 to search for scientific “references”

I have been playing around with GPT-3 and its chatbot in previous weeks, and found it fascinating. GPT-3——the Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3——is a deep learning language model developed by OPEN AI and produces human-like text. Some amazing use cases have already been explored. Here is an example where Denny Borsboom interrogated GPT-3 about assumptions of… Read more »

“Clear evidence” for serotonin hypothesis of depression?

There has been a 60 year long discussion on the role of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the pathophysiology of depression. A recent systematic investigation by Joanna Moncrieff and colleagues concluded that “main areas of serotonin research provide no consistent evidence of there being an association between serotonin and depression, and no support for the hypothesis… Read more »

Welcome to Hotel Elsevier: you can check-out any time you like … not

In December 2021, Robin Kok wrote a series of tweets about his Elsevier data access request. I did the same a few days later. This here is the resulting collaborative blog post, summarizing our journey in trying to understand what data Elsevier collects; what data Elsevier has collected on us two specifically; and trying to… Read more »

Award for transformative early career contributions

About a year ago, the Association for Psychological Science awarded me with the Janet Taylor Spence Award for transformative early career contributions to psychological science. Given that I often move on too quickly into the next big thing rather than taking stock a little when good things happen, I wanted to write a short blog… Read more »

Treating depression with psychedelics: red flags and FAQ

Update, 02/2024: We have now published the paper “History repeating: guidelines to address common problems in psychedelic science” on this topic, in part based on this blog post. We introduces 10 pressing challenges that limit conclusions regarding safety and efficacy. We share a checklist that researchers, journalists, funders, policymakers, and other stakeholders can use to… Read more »

Creating basic psychometric summaries in R

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We just finished collecting the first cohort of the WARN-D study, our ambitious effort to create a personalized early warning system for depression. In the 90 minute self report survey, we try to get at many of the most relevant predicators for depression onset. Creating this battery took us many months, and involved a delphi… Read more »

Systems not syndromes

Studying mental disorders as systems, not syndromes

Update: the paper is now published in Current Directions in Psychological Science; you can find my summary of the paper on Twitter. I’ve written a very brief piece on embracing the complexity of mental health problems, entitled “Studying mental disorders as systems, not syndromes” (download). I also had the opportunity to give a keynote on… Read more »

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