Artikel-Schlagworte: „dead salmon“

Slashdot reported on Sunday Sept 20 the outcome of a new study on the apropriateness of fMRI research which can be read in much more detail on Wired. This study can be seen as a serious warning to ‚blindly‘ believe results of fMRI research without doing proper quality management. Craig M. Bennett and colleagues realized an experiment which is quite close to a gag of ‚Monthy Python’s Flying Circus.‘ However, the experiment is serious. They scanned a mature, but dead atlantic salmon. The experimental task is worth to be mentioned in its original language:

„The salmon was shown a series of photographs depicting human individuals in social situations with a specified emotional valence. The salmon was asked to determine what emotion the individual in the photo must have been experiencing.“

Several photos of human beings were shown to the salmon and reactions were measured. Reviewing the results – surprise, surprise – they showed clear activity in the dead salmon’s brain:

„Several active voxels were discovered in a cluster located within the salmon’s brain cavity.“


The dead salmon and its emotional reactions (Photo courtesy Craig Bennett)

The dead salmon’s ‚emotional reactions‘ look quite impressive at it can be seen in the figure right next to this text. It seems the (dead) salmon reacted to photos of human beings. Unfortunately, the study was turned down by several publications. However, a poster is available. Thinking about the mass of research in the field of fMRI, it seems a little bit confusing what we can believe and what not. What is needed is a good control of random but significant voxels. Additionally, we should not take brain research too serious. But false positives should be taken very seriously. At last, I want to point also to an older posting on this blog about the works of Ed Vul and his colleagues at the MIT. Further infos dedicated to fMRI and the dead salmon are available on Craig Bennett’s personal blog.


Bennett CM, Baird AA, Miller MB, and Wolford GL. (submitted) Neural Correlates of Interspecies Perspective Taking in the Post-Mortem Atlantic Salmon: An Argument For Multiple Comparisons Correction.