2016 Loebel Lectures in Psychiatry and Philosophy

We are pleased to announce details of our 2016 Loebel Lectures, to be delivered by Professor Essi Viding. 

The 2016 Loebel Lectures in Psychiatry and Philosophy will be delivered by Professor Essi Viding (University College London). The series title is 'Developmental risk and resilience: The challenge of translating multi-level data to concrete interventions'.

Lecture 1 of 2: Wednesday 2 November 2016, 6-8pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School, Broad Street, Oxford
Booking: https://bookwhen.com/uehiro

Lecture 2 of 2: Thursday 3 November 2016, 6-8pm
Venue: Grove Auditorium, Magdalen College, Longwall Street, Oxford (please use Longwall Street entrance only)
Booking: https://bookwhen.com/uehiro

One-day Workshop:Friday 4 November 2016, 9.30am-5pm
Venue: Oxford Martin School, Seminar Room 1, Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BD
Booking: https://bookwhen.com/uehiro

Programme: Download PDF

Commentaries and Reflections on Prof Essi Viding’s Loebel Lectures

09.30-10.00 Arrival and Registration
10.00-10.40 Prof Peter Dayan (Neuroscience, UCL)
10.40-11.20 Dr Matthew Parrott (Philosophy, KCL)
11.20-11.40 COFFEE BREAK
11.40-12.20 Dr Charlotte Cecil (Psychology, KCL)
12.20-13.00 Prof Neil Levy (Philosophy, Oxford/Macquarie)
13.00-14.00 LUNCH (a buffet lunch will be provided at Hertford College)
14.00-14.40 Dr Nik Steinbeis (Psychology, Leiden University)
14.40-15.20 Prof Eamon McCrory (Neuroscience, UCL)
15.20-15.40 COFFEE BREAK
15.40-16.20 Prof Richard Holton (Philosophy, Cambridge)
16.20-17.00 Prof Sara Jaffee (Psychology, Penn)


In these Loebel lectures Prof Essi Viding will use disruptive behaviour disorders as an illustrative example to introduce the challenges we face when we try to understand development of psychopathological outcomes. We classify disorders at the level of behaviour, yet individuals arrive at the same behavioural outcomes via multiple different developmental trajectories; a phenomenon called equifinality in the developmental psychopathology literature. A related concept is heterogeneity; we can find individuals with markedly different aetiology to their disorder within the same diagnostic category. The current diagnostic categories identify clinically disturbed functioning, but they do not identify a homogeneous group of individuals.

Getting better at individuating distinct pathways to a disordered outcome is only part of the challenge. Once risk factors for a specific developmental trajectory are identified, we still need to understand their modus operandi. There is no doubt that both biology and the social environment play a role in the emergence of psychopathology, but meaningfully studying their interplay is far from trivial. What are the key biological indicators of vulnerability and resilience? How can we isolate causal mechanisms? How do we model multiple social risk factors and their impact over development?

In Essi Viding's Loebel lectures, as well as in the talks given by speakers in the accompanying workshop, the following questions will be considered:

  • How does 'latent vulnerability' (of either genetic or environmental origin) translate to a disordered outcome, or conversely what makes some individuals with 'latent vulnerability' resilient?
  • To what degree are individuals agents in generating their own environmental circumstances?
  • Do certain behaviours, which can appear disordered, represent adaptations to a specific social ecology?

The workshop will also involve discussion between the speakers and the participants on the following issues:

i.    what study designs can help us advance our understanding of the questions outlined above
ii.    what implications can be drawn for prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders
iii.    what are the challenges of translating individual differences and group level data to bear on the treatment of a single individual