VTCRI professor Read Montague to speak at Harvard on the brain’s mechanisms for biasing judgment

By Patrick Beeson

P. Read Montague, professor in the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and professor of physics in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, will give an invited presentation on "The Neurobehavioral Basis of Judgment Bias and its Mitigation" during a Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics conference titled “Scientific Basis of Conflicts of Interest: The Role of Implicit Cognition” on April 13 at the Harvard Law School.

According to event organizers: “Conflicts of interest are thought about purely as an issue of corruption, that is, as deliberate, self-serving behaviors of knowing actors. (However), people who consider themselves quite ethical can still exhibit behavior corrupted due to conflicts of interest that are substantially unwitting.”

Montague will be one of five presenters at the symposium from Harvard, UC Berkeley, Duke and Virginia Tech who will explore the role of implicit cognition in generating conflicts of interest and consider both explicit and implicit corruption to develop educational strategies and institutional and professional policies to address conflicts of interest.

Montague is the inventor of hyperscanning technology that enables computational neuroscientists to study the decision-making strategies of several individuals’ brains while they are interacting with each other through networks of interactive brain scanners throughout the U.S. and the world. This approach also affords the opportunity to examine the biological underpinnings of how such decisions are influenced by others and extrinsic factors.

Montague is also Senior Wellcome Trust Fellow at the University College London.