Year in Review: 2015

Summary: A lot happened in the Peelle Lab this year. With a little luck, more will happen next year, especially in the realm of open science.

The end of the year is a convenient reminder to reflect on where we've been, and where we are going, both personally and scientifically. All told, a lot happened in the Peelle Lab in 2015, including:

Thoughts on things we did

The most signifiant lab event of the past year was getting an NIH grant over the summer. It's an extremely difficult time to obtain research funding, and many worthwhile projects are not being funded. I'm extremely grateful that we'll now be able to work on several important experiments.

It was also a decent year in terms of scientific output: 7 papers came out, with another 5 accepted (some from my lab, others through collaborations). Although I don't like to display favoritism among my papers for fear of hurting their feelings, I'm particularly fond of the review paper on audiovisual speech perception that I wrote with Mitch Sommers. I enjoyed delving into the topic and learned a lot from writing the paper.

In less flashy (but still important) news, during the past year we have completely revamped our lab organization system for data and paperwork into one that is more useful and sustainable (and compliant). The reorganization has occurred largely due to the heroic efforts of research assistant Amber Adkins, who has single-handedly tamed our file cabinet and electronic documents.

Thoughts on things we did not do

One thing we did not do in 2015 was scan anyone (!), due to a combination of schedules and holding off while our new Prisma scanner was installed and tested. If all goes well we will be collecting data in the next month, which is good news for the backlog of very interesting projects just waiting for data.

Another area in which we have a lot of room for improvement is open science. What I'd like to see is that all of the papers coming out of my lab to conform to the growing consensus on best practices for open and reproducible research, including making all stimuli, data, and analyses publicly available. We've taken some baby steps this year by putting some of our stimuli online and starting to put code on github as part of Ward et al. (2016). We've also made our first set of unthresholded statistical fMRI results available on neurovault as part of Lee et al. (in press). These are steps in the right direction, and I'm hoping to continue to make strides towards more open and reproducible science in the coming year(s).

New Year's resolutions

  • Make a conscious effort to focus more on slow science (and be ok with what may be a real or perceived reduction in quantity of research).
  • As an author, continue moving towards making all of our materials, data, and analyses publicly available, and to use the best statistical methods to address the question at hand (not merely the most convenient).
  • As a reviewer or editor, be more intentional about encouraging other authors to do the same, and to strive for scientific excellence (rather than adequacy).

I suspect I'll have much more to say on these topics over the coming year. But for now, I'll leave it at that.


Lee Y-S, Min NE, Wingfield A, Grossman M, Peelle JE (In press) Acoustic richness modulates the neural networks supporting intelligible speech processing. Hearing Research. doi:10.1016/j.heares.2015.12.008

Ward CM, Rogers CS, Van Engen KJ, Peelle JE (2016) Effects of age, acoustic challenge, and verbal working memory on recall of narrative speech. Experimental Aging Research 42:126-144. doi:10.1080/0361073X.2016.1108785