Community Newsletter: Spectrum 2021 Conference Survey, Bayesian Accuracy, Article Feedback | Spectrum



Illustration by Laurène Boglio

Hello and welcome to this week’s community newsletter! I am your host, Chelsey B. Coombs, Spectrumengagement editor.

Before we start, I want to inform you of a New Spectrum investigation. We’re interested in how autism researchers approach conferences through the end of the year. Are you ready to meet the crowd at this season’s conferences? Or will you be watching the action from your lab (or couch)? Let us know and look for a Spectrum article on how the field envisions face-to-face meetings in the future.

Online this week, Daniel Yon, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London in the United Kingdom, and Chris Frith, professor emeritus of neuropsychology at University College London, explained how precision is important ideas about the “Bayesian brain”.

Bayesian Brain Theory argues that humans and animals value prior knowledge and incoming information for reliability – and they act on what they think is most reliable or accurate. It’s about estimating uncertainty, the authors write, and this has a direct bearing on autism.

“The characteristics of autism, such as a preference for stable and repetitive environments, may be the result of overly strong beliefs about the accuracy of the incoming evidence, so that every fluctuation in our sensory systems seems to signal the need to changing our models of the environment (and the world therefore seems unstable), ”the authors write.

Autism researcher Uta Frith, professor emeritus of cognitive development at University College London, married to Chris Frith, tweeted about the study.

Michael Allen, associate professor of clinical medicine at Aarhus University in Denmark, praised the article.

Sven De Maeyer, professor of education and educational sciences at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, tweeted about the link between the article and Bayesian statistical modeling.

Our next discussion thread this week comes from David Mandell, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and Autism editor-in-chief. He tweeted that journal reviews should be kind because they are “shaping the next generation” of academics.

Many researchers shared their own experiences with the reviewers.

Naomi Ekas, an associate professor of psychology at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, tweeted about harsh criticism of an article that ultimately became his most cited.

Alycia Halladay, Scientific Director of the Autism Science Foundation, tweeted: “You are my inspiration for commenting on ASF applications.”

Jessica Dark, a graduate student in Organizational Psychology at Birbeck, University of London, wrote about her own experience of positive criticism with an autism journal.

Don’t forget to sign up for our September 28 webinar, with Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, who will talk about the goals of developing new drugs for autism – and the obstacles researchers can face. meet.

That’s it for this week’s community newsletter! If you have any suggestions for interesting social posts you’ve seen in autism research, please feel free to email me at [email protected] See you next week!


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