Natural and Unnatural Language Processing in Psychosis

Zoom - registration required
Thursday 19 May 2022 (12:30-13:30)

Stacey Smith at

lena palaniyappan image for brewmail

Natural and Unnatural Language Processing in Psychosis

With Dr Lena Palaniyappan, Professor of Psychiatry, McGill University

UPDATE - Please note that this talk will take place via Zoom webinar only.

Jung claimed that "words are really something like condensed actions, situations, and things. [They are] … substitutes for reality". How are these substitutes for reality employed when we are at the cusp, middle or in the aftermath of psychosis? This talk will:

  1. focus on how studying words via Natural Language Processing is helping us to understand the critical role of language in what we refer to as psychotic disorders;
  2. consider the case for and against computational linguistics in early detection of psychosis; and
  3. argue for linguistic remediation to be a key translational focus for social neuroscience of psychosis.

About the speaker

Dr. Lena Palaniyappan (pronounced as PALA – KNEE – APEN, a Tamil name) works with patients and families experiencing early stages of severe mental illnesses such as psychosis.  He is the inaugural director of the Centre for Youth Mental Health at the Douglas Institute, McGill University and holds the Bourgeois Chair in Developmental Disorders at the McGill University. His research group, Neuroimaging and Mental Illnesses in Youth (NIMY) has its base at two Canadian medical schools: one at the Robarts Research Institute, Schulich School of Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario and the other at McGill’s Faculty of Medicine, Montreal, Quebec.

Following Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, he completed his medical studies at Stanley Medical College (Chennai, India), a master’s and a doctorate in Translational Neuroimaging at the University of Nottingham, UK, with Prof. Peter Liddle.

His research focusses on modifying the pathways that lead to poor long-term outcomes in individuals with serious mental disorders. Relevant to today’s talk, he convenes “DISCOURSE in Psychosis”, an international research consortium with 136 interdisciplinary members, all interested in the domain of language in psychotic disorders.

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