Loebel Lectures and Workshop, Michaelmas Term 2016

We are most grateful to Professor Essi Viding (University College London) for delivering our 2016 Lectures 'Developmental risk and resilience: The challenge of translating multi-level data to concrete interventions'. 

Links to audio and video files of both lectures, together with audio files of the workshop proceedings are posted below.


Lecture 1, Wednesday 2 November 2016: Audio [MP3]  |  Video [MP4]
Lecture 2, Thursday 3 November 2016: Audio [MP3]  |  Video [MP4]

One-day Workshop

Friday 4 November 2016, Oxford Martin School. 

Thank you to our workshop speakers for their commentaries and reflections on Prof Essi Viding’s Loebel Lectures. 

Prof Peter Dayan (Neuroscience, UCL) [MP3
Dr Matthew Parrott (Philosophy, KCL) [MP3
Dr Charlotte Cecil (Psychology, KCL) [MP3
Prof Neil Levy (Philosophy, Oxford/Macquarie) [MP3
Dr Nik Steinbeis (Psychology, Leiden University) [MP3
Prof Eamon McCrory (Neuroscience, UCL) [MP3
Prof Richard Holton (Philosophy, Cambridge) [MP3
Prof Sara Jaffee (Psychology, Penn)


Developmental risk and resilience: The challenge of translating multi-level data to concrete interventions

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

Loebel Lecturers

Professor Essi Viding (2016)
Details of the lectures, audio files etc available here.

Professor Steven E. Hyman (2015)
Details of the lectures, audio files etc available here.

Professor Kenneth S. Kendler (2014)
Details of the lectures, audio files etc available here