Computational psychiatry

Gisbert Kapp N328, Zoom
Monday 17 April 2023 (13:00-14:00)

Stacey Smith

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Computational psychiatry: what is it, what can it explain, and where is it going?

Computational psychiatry is a nascent field, in which researchers use methods from computational neuroscience or data-driven tools to understand more about mental health conditions and symptoms. In this talk, I will briefly summarise what the field encompasses and the driving assumptions of it. I will then highlight some specific applications from my own research - a meta-analysis of reinforcement learning in mood and anxiety disorders, and work to understand the underlying mechanisms of constructs derived from clinical psychology work, such as catastrophizing and intolerance of uncertainty. I will also talk about big-data approaches to prediction in mental health. Finally, I will discuss the future directions of the field: including a focus on generalisability to the real world, and the implications and impact of this work - how the understanding we gain from applying these methods can be used in prediction, treatment design, and precision medicine.

Register to attend in person (Room N328, Gisbert Kapp Building, University of Birmingham)

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About the Speaker

Dr Alex Pike is a Lecturer in Mental Health at the University of York, UK. She has always been fascinated by the overlap between cognitive (neuro)science and mental health: in particular, trying to understand how terms used in clinical psychology or therapies such as CBT manifest in terms of cognition and learning. In her current work, she uses computational modelling and neuroimaging to investigate how differences in learning and decision-making might relate to mental health - particularly eating disorders and anxiety. From 2018-2022, Alex worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Neuroscience and Mental Health Group at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (UCL), under the guidance of Professor Oliver Robinson. Alex was awarded a DPhil in Psychiatry from the University of Oxford in 2018, supervised by Professor Phil Cowen and Dr Rebecca Park, on the topic of eating disorders and compulsivity.