Monthly Archives: February 2012

More on coding for students, plus a teeny bit of recursive self-indulgence

My lovely, lovely friends at TheNeuronClub have just put up a new post, where they say some very kind things about this blog – thanks guys! However, this post is not just about a bit of self-back-slappery – they also mention a few really great-looking resources to help you get started with programming using Python – if you’re interested in coding, this would be a great place to start. Check out their piece here. You can also (*ahem* self-promotion *ahem*), if you felt so inclined, read my previous guest piece on their site (on whether to average functionally or anatomically in fMRI) here.


SPM vs. FSL by Chris Rorden, and some miscellaneous fMRI tips

I’ve noticed that my previous postings (here and here) about the differences between popular bits of neuroimaging software have been pretty popular in terms of traffic, so I thought I’d just point you towards a similar powerpoint presentation I’ve just found authored by Chris Rorden. It’s fairly brief, but does contain a lot of good information about the key differences between FSL and SPM, particularly in terms of their different approaches to spatial normalisation and  You can download the .ppt file here.

For those who might already be a bit more advanced in their practice of the dark art of fMRI analysis, Chris also has an great set of scripts for SPM8 here, plus of course, his MRICron software is outstandingly useful.

Finally, for FSL users (see – something for everyone at this blog!) I have this little tip, from the mysteriously-named “neuroimager”, which is a fantastic and beautiful method of displaying functional results on a 3D-rendered brain image, using freesurfer.

Behavioural/Experimental software for psychology… A teaser.

When I started this blog, one of the main reasons for doing so was to talk about how to program and run psychology experiments. I’ve made a couple of low-level forays into those areas in the past, but I’ve always intended to put up some reviews, handy hints, and maybe even some completed programs related to particular pieces of specialised experimental software.

Unfortunately, this post is not going to do that. I started aimlessly browsing a load of websites this morning looking at the options available for this kind of software, and quickly realised that a) I needed to do a lot more reading and work if I was going to write anything which could hope to be even moderately comprehensive, and b) that there are already some really rather good sites that already exist and can serve as an introduction to this sort of thing.

For instance, as a starting point, you could do a lot worse than this wikipedia page, which lists a bunch of the more well-known behavioural software packages and includes some helpful information about platforms, interface, and cost. This little snippet of a page on the Cambridge MRC-CBU website is also of interest, as it shows the results of a survey of researchers and what packages they use (quite old though; 2006).

Lastly, I urge you to check out this heroically comprehensive collection of information and links curated by Hans Strasburger, who works at the universities of München and Göttingen. There is an awful lot to digest on this web-page, but it’s packed full of solid-gold nuggets of greatness. It’s mostly skewed towards visual psychophysics-type experimentation, but there’s an awful lot of value here for any kind of psychology researcher.

At some point, I’ll do a ‘proper’ post (or more likely, series) on experimental software with reviews, examples etc., but these links should keep you busy enough until then.


Just found a new blog…

…by a fMRI researcher in Dundee named Akira O’Connor, find it here. Lots of deeply cool academic/tech-related stuff on there, but in particular I really enjoyed his presentation (done using Prezi) on internet tools for academics, and the post on student e-mail etiquette.

That is all.

Survey on computer skills/usage in psychology

Dearest readers, I have a request. In order to carry on delivering the finest tidbits of technical/psychological knowledge to your jaded eyeballs, I need you to complete a little survey. It’s very quick and not at all taxing, I promise. The answers to the questions will be used by me to plan future posts on this blog, and also to inform some other educational materials I’m working on.

I’m particularly interested in hearing from psychology/neuroscience undergraduates/Masters/PhD students, however if you’re a post-doctoral researcher or even a faculty member, please feel free to complete it too. If you feel like sending it on to any of your friends then that would be terrific too. Please answer as many questions as you feel apply to you, and then click the ‘end’ button at the bottom of the page to save/send the results.

Many thanks, you lovely, lovely people. I await your doubtlessly fascinating, breath-takingly insightful, and nigh-on paradigm-shifting answers with bated breath and an eager glimmer in my eye. You can take the survey by clicking here.