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- Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychology
- Institute of Neurology
- Faculty of Brain Sciences
Although I have retired from my position at the Wellcome Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL in 2007, I continue exploring the new scientific discipline (neural hermeneutics), concerned with the neural basis of social interaction. In particular I am trying to delineate the mechanisms underlying the human ability to share representations of the world. It is this ability that makes communication possible. I think that there are two major processes involved. The first is an automatic form of priming (sometimes referred to as contagion or empathy), whereby our representations of the world become aligned with those of the person with whom we are interacting. The second is a form of forward modelling, analogous to that used in the control of our own actions. Such generative models enable us to predict the actions of others and use prediction errors to correct and refine our representations of the mental states of the person we are interacting with. These ideas are also relevant for our understanding of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. One characteristic of the mistaken perceptions (hallucinations) and beliefs (delusions) associated with this disorder is their resistance to change in spite of their incompatibility with the beliefs and perceptions of others. This indicates a failure in the mechanism by which we align our representations of the world with those of others. Delineating the normal mechanisms of alignment will help us to identify the neural basis of hallucinations and delusions.
|1969||PhD||Doctor of Philosophy – Psychology||University of London|
|1965||Dip. Psych||Diploma in Psychology – Psychology||University of London|
|1963||MA||Master of Arts – Natural Sciences||University of Cambridge|