Read Montague is interested in the human dopamine system — or, as he puts it in this illuminating talk from TEDGlobal 2012, that which makes us “chase sex, food and salt” and therefore survive. Specifically, Montague and his team at the Roanoke Brain Study are interested in how dopamine and valuation systems work when two […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
Until recently, the world's curiosity about our brains seemed to focus on abnormal behavior. Which of course left a big question unanswered: Do we even know what "normal behavior" is? Through the landmark Roanoke Brain Study, Read Montague is hoping to find that out, exploring the everyday tasks of brains -- making decisions, understanding social context, and relating to others -- by neuroimaging some 5,000 people, ages 18-85, over a period of many years.
Montague's teams in Virginia and in London lead fascinating research in computational neuroscience (how the brain's "machinery" works), offering insight into the relationship between the social and cognitive functions. For instance, a recent study from his group found that in small social groups, some people will alter the expression of their IQ in reaction to social pressures -- revising, in almost all cases, downward.
What others say
"Wth 5,000 healthy controls, this will be the largest study of decision-making behavior and brain function in a healthy population. Studies are typically done with dozens of people, rather than hundreds or thousands." — Ann Harvey, program coordinator for the Roanoke Brain Study
Read Montague’s TED talks
Read Montague on the TED Blog
A reformed computational neuroscientist, professor Read Montague takes the stage and admits he’s nervous. Then he asks the audience to put their hands up if they think they have a behavioral superpower. “Oh! I actually see hands! TED really is a superconference.” Montague is here to talk about people, relationships, and brains. As he tells […]Continue reading