Computational Psychiatry – Periodic Table for the MInd

Computational Psychiatry – A Periodic Table of the Mind

Might it be possible to create something like a periodic table for the human mind? I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Montague: When you’re sitting here looking me in the eye and measuring me up, what exactly do you see happening in me? And the answer is almost nothing. I’m just sitting here, but a whole lot of stuff is going on inside of my head. And so, one of the things I focus on are these quiet, silent operations that go on during social interactions.

Read Montague is director of the Human Neuroimaging Lab and Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. He and his colleagues are trying find new ways of understanding the way we think and it has a lot to do with how we interact with others.

Montague: We have had to invent a series of new kinds of technologies for studying active social interactions. So,we’ve designed a way to link brain-scanning devices up, set people into staged social interactions, and eavesdrop on both the interacting minds.
So, how do I turn your feelings into numbers in a way that’s useful for me to understand healthy human cognition and the way it breaks down in disease and injury? That’s the question we’re after.. So, we take pairs of people, up to 20 – 25 people at a time. We construct staged experiments where they’re doing trade back and forth. They make gestures to one another over favors, over simple things like this. You try to guess what the other person’s thinking, so to speak something that you do every day of the week in normal context.

And our hope is that we can use these staged interactions to take the whole of your cognition, chop it into a bunch of little pieces, and then, use those pieces reassembled to make a model of how it is that humans navigate their way around the world and think about other people. Using that model, you could then characterize how particular people are different. We call that computational psychiatry. It’s a very new area. The analogy is with the periodic table of the elements.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner

Computational Psychiatry - Periodic Table for the MInd

Computational Psychiatry aims to create a periodic table for the human mind, coupled with new kinds of technologies for studying active social interactions.
Air Date:03/03/2014
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Transcript:

Computational Psychiatry - A Periodic Table of the Mind

Might it be possible to create something like a periodic table for the human mind? I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Montague: When you're sitting here looking me in the eye and measuring me up, what exactly do you see happening in me? And the answer is almost nothing. I'm just sitting here, but a whole lot of stuff is going on inside of my head. And so, one of the things I focus on are these quiet, silent operations that go on during social interactions.

Read Montague is director of the Human Neuroimaging Lab and Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. He and his colleagues are trying find new ways of understanding the way we think and it has a lot to do with how we interact with others.

Montague: We have had to invent a series of new kinds of technologies for studying active social interactions. So,we've designed a way to link brain-scanning devices up, set people into staged social interactions, and eavesdrop on both the interacting minds.
So, how do I turn your feelings into numbers in a way that's useful for me to understand healthy human cognition and the way it breaks down in disease and injury? That's the question we're after.. So, we take pairs of people, up to 20 - 25 people at a time. We construct staged experiments where they're doing trade back and forth. They make gestures to one another over favors, over simple things like this. You try to guess what the other person's thinking, so to speak something that you do every day of the week in normal context.

And our hope is that we can use these staged interactions to take the whole of your cognition, chop it into a bunch of little pieces, and then, use those pieces reassembled to make a model of how it is that humans navigate their way around the world and think about other people. Using that model, you could then characterize how particular people are different. We call that computational psychiatry. It's a very new area. The analogy is with the periodic table of the elements.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner