Psychiatry – Power of Labeling

Computational Psychiatry – Power of Labeling

Could simply being told you have a specific mental disorder effect your chances of recovery? I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Montague: We have done experiments where we show the thing that you think is happening to you can govern deep, evolutionarily old structures in your nervous system. Read Montague is the director of the Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. To test the power of suggestion, he devised an experiment where smokers were given cigarettes with or without nicotine, the smokers didn’t know which. And using brain imaging technologies, he monitored their responses, trying to answer the question: What has the bigger effect, the nicotine – which is a powerful drug, by the way, or the suggestion that you’re getting nicotine? And the answer is, the suggestion completely swamps the drug. You can, literally, put a suggestion into somebody’s head, and it is competing for the control of the same neural circuitry that the nicotine would otherwise affect, and it can beat it.

So what effect does it have on us when we’re told we have a mental disease, such as..

Montague: ..attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, even autism spectrum disorder, “you have bipolar disorder” the message itself carries potency in your nervous system in a way that we haven’t taken account of when we think about how to treat, classify, and respond to what we call mental disorders. So, expectations about the drugs that you’re taking are themselves as potent as the drugs you’re taking, or can be. We’re entering an era where the classification of mental disorders becomes like giving people drugs to begin with, and they can lean on this in ways that are pathological and sometimes pernicious. We’ve been insensitive as a culture to how it is that these sorts of labels and categorizations have real neural impact on people’s nervous systems and consequent behavior. We’ve just been insensitive to that.

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

Psychiatry - Power of Labeling

Could simply being told you have a specific mental disorder effect your chances of recovery?
Air Date:07/29/2016
Scientist:
Transcript:

Computational Psychiatry - Power of Labeling

Could simply being told you have a specific mental disorder effect your chances of recovery? I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Montague: We have done experiments where we show the thing that you think is happening to you can govern deep, evolutionarily old structures in your nervous system. Read Montague is the director of the Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. To test the power of suggestion, he devised an experiment where smokers were given cigarettes with or without nicotine, the smokers didn't know which. And using brain imaging technologies, he monitored their responses, trying to answer the question: What has the bigger effect, the nicotine - which is a powerful drug, by the way, or the suggestion that you're getting nicotine? And the answer is, the suggestion completely swamps the drug. You can, literally, put a suggestion into somebody's head, and it is competing for the control of the same neural circuitry that the nicotine would otherwise affect, and it can beat it.

So what effect does it have on us when we're told we have a mental disease, such as..

Montague: ..attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, even autism spectrum disorder, "you have bipolar disorder" the message itself carries potency in your nervous system in a way that we haven't taken account of when we think about how to treat, classify, and respond to what we call mental disorders. So, expectations about the drugs that you're taking are themselves as potent as the drugs you're taking, or can be. We're entering an era where the classification of mental disorders becomes like giving people drugs to begin with, and they can lean on this in ways that are pathological and sometimes pernicious. We've been insensitive as a culture to how it is that these sorts of labels and categorizations have real neural impact on people's nervous systems and consequent behavior. We've just been insensitive to that.

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