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Bringing Computational Modeling to Psychiatry

It can be challenging to understand the complex interactions and relationships that result in the development and maintenance of psychiatric problems; however, computational modeling — the integration of mathematics, computers, and simulations to model complex systems — provides a new tool to help describe clinical dysfunction.

A special series in the May issue of Clinical Psychological Science, introduced by journal editor Alan Kazdin and special series guest editor Tiago V. Maia, brings together articles illustrating the diverse range of applications of computational modeling to psychiatry.

Editor’s Introduction to the Special Series: Computational Psychiatry Alan E. Kazdin

Introduction to the Series on Computational Psychiatry Tiago V. Maia

Model-Based Cognitive Neuroscience Approaches to Computational Psychiatry: Clustering and Classification Thomas V. Wiecki, Jeffrey Poland, and Michael J. Frank

Decision-Theoretic Psychiatry Quentin J. M. Huys, Marc Guitart-Masip, Raymond J. Dolan, and Peter Dayan



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Memory Athletes and Researchers Collaborate to Dissect Feats of Memory

XMTSome of us have a gift for memorization and recall — think Sherlock Holmes. The fictional Holmes was portrayed as having a natural gift, but others train their memories using mnemonic techniques. Although the general principles have been known for hundreds of years, modern mnemonists refine them and adapt them. What cognitive abilities and training permit people to recall 80 random numbers after studying them for less than 60 seconds or to memorize the order of a shuffled deck of cards in under 30 seconds?

Over the weekend of May 2–3, 24 memory athletes gathered at the 2nd Annual Extreme Memory Tournament (XMT) in San Diego as part of a contest sponsored…


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A Gathering of Champions

You’ve read their textbooks and seen their work cited. Now you have a chance to meet them face-to-face. At the 2015 APS Annual Convention in New York City, the APS Student Caucus will host its annual “Champions of Psychological Science” event, which provides the unique opportunity for student affiliates to talk in an informal setting with highly respected and well-known psychological scientists.


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Man with Restored Sight Provides New Insight into How Vision Develops

California man Mike May made international headlines in 2000 when his sight was restored by a pioneering stem cell procedure after 40 years of blindness. A study published three years after the operation found that the then 49-year-old could see colors, motion and some simple two-dimensional shapes, but was incapable of more complex visual processing.

Hoping May might eventually regain those visual skills, University of Washington researchers and colleagues retested him a decade later. In an article published in the April 2015 issue of Psychological Science, they report that May — referred to in the study as M.M. — continues to perform significantly worse than sighted control group participants.

This is a closeup of a human eye.The conclusion: May’s vision remains very limited 15 years after the surgeries. Though disappointing, the results provide valuable information that can help researchers better…


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Brain, Behavior, and the Economy

Psychological science, once criticized for underestimating the impact of socioeconomic factors on psychological development and functioning, now plays a lead role in investigating how wealth and poverty affect thought, emotion, and action throughout our lives. Top researchers from the United States and Europe presented some of the most profound findings on cognition, brain, behavior, and development in socioeconomic contexts during the inaugural International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS), held in March in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

In an integrative science symposium, researchers shared discoveries about the ways socioeconomic status affects brain development, decision making, subjective well-being, and more. A complete video of the session, divided by individual presentations in chapter format, is available on the APS YouTube page. Presenters include APS Fellows Martha J. Farah, University of Pennsylvania, and Eldar Shafir, Princeton University; psychological scientist Cynthia García Coll, Carlos Albizu University, San Juan, Puerto…


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