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"
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