Science: How not to do it

Contact Name: Bob Carlyon

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Dr. Bob Carlyon has been studying the human auditory system since his Ph.D. in Cambridge in the early 1980s. He is currently Programme Leader at the MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, England. He is also an Official Fellow of Clare Hall Cambridge. He was presented with the Acoustical Society of America’s R. Bruce Lindsay award in 1994, and was elected a Fellow of that Society in 1998. He received the Thomas Simm Littler prize from the British Society of Audiology in 2010. Dr. Carlyon has made important contributions to a wide range of topics in human hearing, a recurring theme being the problem of how we can listen to one voice in the presence of interfering sounds, such as other speakers. Much of his current research addresses how to improve hearing by cochlear implant users.

All of us – whether patients, clinicians, or scientists – rely on the results of scientific experiments. Unfortunately, those experiments are often flawed, or just plain wrong. Fortunately, the problem usually arises from one of a small number of errors. Some of these errors are very obvious, and have even been the subject of some pretty good cartoons. Others are more subtle, and have become of increasing interest to cognitive neuroscientists, but not (yet) to those working in more clinically relevant fields. This talk will help you to spot these common pitfalls when assessing other people’s research, and to avoid falling into the same trap.

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