Read Montague, director of the Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, will present a talk in Japan on his research program on deep phenotyping of human behavior and brain function. Taking place on August 30, the workshop, “Mechanism of Brain and Mind,” is a biannual event that is held in Nagoya, Japan. Every winter and summer, more than 100 systems’ neuroscientists from both theoretical and experimental backgrounds attend the workshop to help build the young field’s growing foundation.

Montague’s presentation will focus on his research using economic games and computational models of reward processing to develop objective, quantitative biomarkers for healthy and diseased cognitive processes. By using functional magnetic resonance imaging to probe the active neural networks of people playing economic games against one another, Montague and his group are finding signals and patterns in thought processes indicative of both healthy and pathological reasoning, including autism spectrum disorder, borderline personality disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and major depressive disorder. Early results have shown that not only are participants capable of recognizing deviations in game play caused by psychological disorders, but computers are able to spot these aberrations as well. Montague hopes that these and future studies will lead to accurate phenotyping of healthy and diseased cognition and augment traditional psychological approaches to disordered behavior and thought.

Montague’s lecture is titled, “Can We Phenotype Thought? Using Advanced Imaging Techniques to Understand Social Interactions,” and takes place at the Nagoya Congress Center.