These are the 13 neuroscience blogs and podcasts you need to follow in 2016.

cortex art

Neuroscience is seductive. We have studies proving that the presence of irrelevant neuroscience information makes explanations of psychological phenomena more appealing! And throwing in fMRI pictures further increases that allure.

Neuromyths are abound and understandably there are numerous neuroscientists, bloggers and others lining up to sneer and throw rocks at people who believe them or who continue to peddle them (entertaining for some, but unhelpful and off-putting for those who’re genuinely curious to learn more).

Short of signing up for a PhD in neuroscience, or trawling through the over 100,000 research articles published annually containing the word ‘brain’ how does one know where to turn to for simple, relevant, evidence-based information about the mind and brain?

I recommend the following 13 science writers, bloggers and podcasters. They discuss with warmth, insight, wisdom and a solid foundation of knowledge the latest science and stories related to the mind, brain and behaviour.

Follow them and your brain will thank you.

In no particular order …

Neurophilosophy by Mo Costandi. Mo took my line when he described himself as “a developmental neurobiologist turned freelance science writer”… except he’s based in London not Sydney! Mo describes his blog as being about molecules, mind and everything in between. I read everything he writes, and his first book ’50 Human Brain Ideas You Really Need to Know’ is one of my brain-bibles. I love this piece, ‘How your eyes betray your thoughts’.

Brain Blogger is not an individual, but a smart collective of academics, science journos and health professionals who write this award winning health and science blog . They review the most impactful news and research related to all things brain (neuroscience, neurology, psychology, psychiatry, and healthcare). One of THE go-tos online for neuro-news. Check out this great piece, Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy – The Mental Health Trip of the Future?

All in the Mind is an ABC Radio Sunday evening classic presented by Lynne Malcolm (with older episodes hosted by Natasha Mitchell). The show is an exploration of all things mental —the brain and behaviour, and the fascinating connections between them. A treasure trove of interviews, transcripts and links to loose yourself in. I suggest you listen in to this popular report on the influence of gut bacteria on our mental health, The Second Brain.

The Mental Elf team, lead by André Tomlin, post short and snappy summaries that highlight evidence-based publications relevant to mental health. Essential reading to help sort out the wheat from the chaff when it comes to mental health treatments and research. Read this excellent summary of mindfulness ‘All in the mindfulness? Reflections on the Mindful Nation report’

The Psychology Podcast by psychologist and science writer Scott Barry Kaufman. In his words Scott’s podcasts give you ‘insights into the mind, brain, behavior and creativity’. Each episode features a guest who will stimulate your mind, and give you a greater understanding of your self, others, and the world we live in. Scott also writes the column Beautiful Minds over at Scientific American. I’m very happy to fan-girl his interview with one of my heroes, Jane McGongial, How Video Games Can Make Us SuperBetter.

Christian Jarrett’s blogs and articles on the mind and brain are world class. Another neuroscientist turned science writer (I believe they’re always the best kind), Christian writes for the New York Magazine’s ‘Science of Us’ section and the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest. He also busts neuro-myths in his latest book Great Myths of the Brain (essential reading for all students taking my courses). See how clearly and simply he explains complex ideas in this piece, Drugs and Talk Therapy Affect the Brain in Different Ways.

The Best Brain Possible by Debbie Hampton shares information about the tools Debbie used to heal herself and her life physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually after suffering a brain injury. Debbie speaks from the trenches and her thought-proking pieces promise to inspire and encourage you to take control of and change your brain and life for the better. Debbie nails it with this post, The Best Brain Advice from the Brain Experts.

BrainCraft with Vanessa Hill isn’t a wordy blog but a quirky, fun and evidence-filled digital series exploring psychology, neuroscience and why we act the way we do. Vanessa tells stories about science in a thoughtful and creative way that’s both entertaining and accessible. It’s SO hard to pick from her treasure trove of videos, but I love this one: The Power of Sadness in Inside Out.

PsyBlog by psychologist Jeremy Dean shares the science of how the mind works. He’s prolific, and posts short, simple and compelling research summaries daily. Pieces have included how memory works, self-control, methods for boosting creativity and the psychology of work. Check out this crazy but true story, People Good at Swearing have this Major Advantage.

Brain Science with Ginger Campbell is one of the longest running neuroscience podcasts round. Dr. Campbell describes herself as an experienced emergency physician with a long-standing interest in mind-body medicine, the brain, and consciousness. Brain Science shares recent discoveries from the world of neuroscience in a way that people of all backgrounds can enjoy.  This is my all time favourite (listen to it while you’re next working out): Exercise promotes brain plasticity with John Ratey.

Shink Rap Radio‘s tagline ‘All the psychology you need to know and just enough to make you dangerous’ sums up Dr Dave Van Nuys‘ podcast. The warm and wise Dr Dave’s weekly interviewees include therapists, scientists and psychologists. In this podcast he speaks to neuroscientist Elizabeth Johnston about the neuroscience of emotion, The Feeling Brain.

The Dana Foundation isn’t technically a blogger, but is ‘your gateway to responsible information about the brain’. Their primers are particularly useful for a more in-depth look at basic principles of neuroscience. Take look at this primer on the notion of Right Brain-Left Brain.

Your Brain Health with Dr Sarah McKay (yet another neuroscientist turned science writer!). I aim to help you to discover neuroscience, understand the brain, and expand your mind. With heart. From the beach. I also blog over at the ABC’s Active Memory site where I’ve written about everything from empathy, to mindset in the classroom, to what happens to your brain on coffee!

Have I missed anyone from the list?

Leave me a comment and I’ll check out your recommendation!


Image credit Ton Haex


26 Responses to These are the 13 neuroscience blogs and podcasts you need to follow in 2016.

  1. Sarah,

    Thank you for including my blog in this great group of wonderful resources. There are some new ones that I don’t know and look forward to checking out.

    Happy holidays and new year to you!

  2. You missed NeuroPod -an awesome podcast From Nature Neuroscience – probably one of the BEST podcasts to review news and updates on the latest neuroscience research.

  3. Sarah – Thank you for this thoughtfully curated list! I enjoy following your blog and have added a few new “favorites” to my list for 2016! I am a Child & Adolescent Psychologist, as well as a parent consultant and speaker. I use of ton of brain-based information to help kiddos and their families navigate their lives in better informed ways! Would love to connect!

    Happy Holidays!

    Amy Fortney Parks

  4. I’m checking out the ones I don’t know (most), but based on the ones I do know, this doesn’t strike me as a very good list.

    PsyBlog, really? That guy doesn’t understand the difference between causation and correlation and keeps overselling what the studies he cites supports – of course there is no way to comment on his blog, so at least he’s consistent in being terrible and unscientific.

    And then Neuroskeptic, one of the most-read and important ones in the field, isn’t on there? Is that a joke?

    Other blogs that should be on here are the neurocritic as well as the neurosphere, the latter being very promising new kid on the blog.

    • No joke Anonymouse! I ummmed and ahhhed about that one, but neuroskeptic can be a little dismissive at times which was why that blog wasn’t included this time round (was in my last list two years ago). I’d disagree that Jeremy knows the difference between correlation and causation – terrible is a little harsh?

      Interestingly, I do note that your friend neuroskeptic said recently, “…I don’t believe that anonymous comments should be always given the same weight as signed ones. We should take them with a large pinch of salt if they contain statements that are difficult to verify (rumors, opinions etc.). However, when they make concrete empirical statements, these must be taken seriously.”

      I’ll check out neurosphere 🙂

      • I don’t understand how being dismissive is a reason to exclude a blog, especially considering the state of this field (and others, psychology is much worse than neuro), where I would argue that one can barely be dismissive enough, given how undiscriminately reporting and overselling findings is the norm rather than the exception. Given how anonymous commenting allows to do exactly that, I agree with Neuroskeptic (and I read his piece), even though I can’t help but find it odd that this is something that actually needs to be articulated, because it should be clear that empirical evidence is just that, no matter who pointed to it, anonymously or not.

        Regarding PsyBlog – I was tempted to spend time on that blog to make my case, but it’s not worth it, so I hope this illustrative google search will do:
        Also this comparison, which I happened to have on hand, shows the dramatic difference between the quality of PsyBlog posts and that of someone who actually knows stuff:

        The latter blog is also highly recommended in general. I didn’t mention it earlier because it’s not strictly neuro, but then PsyBlog isn’t either.

        • You’re rather proving my point, Anonymous! The reason I chose the blogs & podcasts I did was to avoid the snobbery and stone throwing of academia. I spent enough years in academia to know the gig. Yes I agree there is a ton of rubbish abound about psychology and neuroscience – thats why I wrote this list. Because it gives those interesting in learning more about their mind and brain (and non-scientists are entitled to that too) a simple way to do so.

          My readers aren’t other scientists or academics, and few of us have time to trawl through blogs littered with scatter plots, histograms and lines and lines of analysis – that’s what the paper is for! But I appreciate you taking the time to link to the Ramscar blog. You’re clearly an academic, either in Ramscar’s lab or at least in the same department?

          • I don’t like academia very much either. And I see why some research blogs are not suited for a non-scientific audience and how Michael’s blog can be overwhelming (and yes, we do have a personal history). But this is a recommendation not of popsci blogs, but of neuro blogs. And my feeling is that even non-scientists with an interest as particular as that are also people who want to be informed beyond the level that, say, the guardian provides.

            The biggest problem with neuro studies relevant here isn’t that they are coming from questionable frameworks, but that their findings are blown out of proportion (often by the media). So the point of including blogs like neurosceptic and neurocritic is to give people the chance to contextualize those other reports and to be able to spot the questionable bits – rather than just blindly believing them or not – without actually having to read a fair bit of the literature themselves.

    • Don’t mind me budging into this debate you have going on here, but I just wanted to thank you for turning me on to Neuroskeptic – I can’t believe I haven’t known about it all this time 🙂

  5. Hi Sarah, Thanks for putting together this list. This looks like it’s becoming a yearly tradition for your blog! I’m familiar with some, but not all, of these blogs and podcasts. I greatly look forward to checking these out. I see you are not superstitious with the #13. That might make an interesting topic – the neuroscience of superstitions! 🙂

  6. I’ve been following The Psychology Podcast for months already and I really find them interesting. But these others you’ve mentioned seemed great too. Thanks for the list!

  7. Thanks for this list. It may not be your thing, given your thoughts about the basic research community (I assume this is what you mean when you say the snobbery of academia, above) but wondering if you’ve had a listen to Neuroscientists Talk Shop? It’s an unvarnished, “fly on the wall” style rendering of a round table between high level basic science researchers discussing a guest researcher’s work at the PhD level. It’s zero production value, and often a hard slog for those looking for slick or simplified content. But it’s a goldmine for those who want to listen to specialists of the day have an interdisciplinary conversation about problems in neuroscience are tackled, in all their multidimensional complexity.

Leave a reply

15 − four =