Remember me, I’m the one who had your brain MRI-ed: thanks and farewell Chris Madan

We welcomed psychologist and neuroscientist Chris Madan (@cMadan) to Real Scientists in January. A postdoc at Boston College, Chris is interested in how memories are formed.

Well this makes me feel better about forgetting the milk EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Chris also told us about the myriad different brain imaging and activity techniques out there, including EEGs where you get to wear a stylish cap like this one

What a fetching new look from the RealScientists Winter ready-to-wear collection.

Additional topics covered were machine learning, how to improve your memory and decision making.

Chris kindly fulfilled our request to complete our post-curation interview, and his answers are below.

In general terms, how did you find your week as a curator?

It was great! I definitely enjoyed being able to talk about my research interests with a broad audience of people.

It can be a shock talking to so many. Did you find the sudden rush of interactions (good and bad) daunting?

Not really. I found it quite manageable as I initially gave some background on my chosen topic and then switched to answering questions.

What were the highlights? Were there any lowlights?

It was great to be able to reach so many interested people who were eager to learn more about topics that I knew well. As a sort of ‘lowlight’, there were a few individuals that seemed to want to be intentionally confrontational or re-direct the conversations, which was not something I had previously experienced when tweeting from my own account. While this was initially stressful and not something I was prepared for, I took this to be a learning experience associated with the wider exposure that occurs when tweeting with people outside of my ‘usual’ audience, which is largely academics interested in similar topics as myself.

Is there anything you wanted to get out of / do on the RS account that you didn’t manage to fit in?


Did you have a plan? If so, did you stick to it?

Yes. Before I started, I made a list of topics I wanted to talk about, such as “memory and decision making”, “memory systems,” and “advice for researchers”. I did shuffle around the sequence of topics a bit based on people’s interests, but it was fairly set-out at the start of the week. I did make some other changes based on feedback though, such as making sure to highlight some relevant ‘popular science’ books that people may want to look into to learn more.

Do you have any tips or advice for future RS curators?

Having an outline of the topics you want to discuss helps a lot. I also found it very useful to set aside time to gather links, images, and videos beforehand, so that I would have them ready for when I was tweeting. There were definitely times where I had to pause to quickly find a resource that I knew of, but didn’t have at-the-ready, but setting aside some time to prepare made it a lot easier to focus on the conversation with followers of realscientsts.

What other people or accounts should people follow if they enjoyed your tweets this week?

I talked about a variety of topics, so it somewhat depends on what people found most interesting. A few great memory researchers are: @DanielaJPalombo, @aidanhorner, @maureenritchey, and @hugospiers. To hear more about decision making, follow @LukeClark01 and @morewedge. A few great neuroimaging researchers are @neuroraf, @m_wall, and @bradleyvoytek. For advice on memory strategies and test taking, follow @AceThatTest. For more about machine learning, follow @BecomingDataSci and @kdnuggets. For advice on academia and writing, follow @raulpacheco.

Thanks once again Chris from all of us here at RealScientists HQ. If you missed anything from his week, the tweets are all collated at the following link and Chris also Storified many of the interactions: Day 1 Intro, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, off session.



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