HOME FACULTY RESEARCH 9-11 PROJECT COLLABORATORS BOOKS PUBLICATIONS LAB ASSISTANTS CONTACT

Interpersonal Communication Laboratory

NYS Psychiatric Institute

Joseph Jaffe, M.D.
Beatrice Beebe, Ph.D.

    This laboratory based department pursues a rapprochement between two worlds of psychological phenomena, namely, the "observation" versus the "interpretation" of human behavior.

    Established over 30 years ago, the lab has been using computers to track human relationships from its earliest days and had the very first digital computer purchased by the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Unlike the familiar PCs on almost every desk today, this computer was completely dedicated to the quantitative, real time study and mathematical modeling of verbal and nonverbal social behavior. In the intervening years, our resources have expanded to include a studio for dyadic conversational studies and an open field play space for observing infants and children. Equipment now includes video and audio recorders as well as signal processing computers. As a result, we have amassed a huge computer accessible database that permits new investigators to test hypotheses regarding the "rapprochement" mentioned above.

    Collaborators at the lab have included pre and post doctoral researchers, medical students, biological psychiatrists, statisticians, experimental psychologists, speech pathologists, audiologists, psychoanalysts, neurosurgeons, linguists, mathematicians, painters, poets, geneticists, computer programmers, an IBM communications engineer and a nuclear physicist. Despite this diversity, all have been intrigued by the possibility of a true "social psychophysics" that connects the two realms of the "quantitative measurement of communication" and the more global, qualitative judgments of clinicians.

    Current research collaborations involve the Departments of Medical Genetics and Therapeutics at the Institute, and Obstetrics, Neurology and Neurosurgery at Presbyterian Hospital.

    Our lab is presently involved in a study of "brain laterality and mortality" utilizing the National Academy of Science/ National Research Council Twin Registry. NIMH funded grants now focus upon "Rhythms of Dialogue in Infancy" and "Mother infant Regulation: Depressive Symptoms and Attachment."

    The findings of research that this lab has generated over the past 30 years are being used to treat mothers who were pregnant and widowed on 9-11 and their infants and young children using "video-bonding" consultations.

HOME FACULTY RESEARCH 9-11 PROJECT COLLABORATORS BOOKS PUBLICATIONS LAB ASSISTANTS CONTACT