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Why Do We Need Research?

The Advanced Psychology Institute was established with the primary goal of delving into and broadening the innovative therapy framework known as Message-Centered Psychology (MCP). This paradigm, developed by a visionary therapist, represents the cornerstone of our research and therapeutic practices.

PURPOSE

The potential of MCP-inspired treatments is vast, warranting more extensive research than a private practice setting could provide. This is why our research department is vital to our mission and existence.

MCP offers insightful explanations of complex psychological phenomena and generates testable predictions. True to the nature of science, our growing understanding opens the door to new, meaningful inquiries. Addressing these questions enhances our knowledge and leads to novel practical applications and further questions.

However, the acquisition of new knowledge is only impactful when shared. We partly achieve this through our educational facility, but our reach extends through publications, conference presentations, seminars, and public talks. Disseminating our findings is a crucial role of our Research Department.

Our Clinical Research Division is instrumental in conducting trials of our pioneering methods and developing new MCP-based treatments for a range of conditions, including addiction, autistic spectrum disorder, dyslexia, dyscalculia, and challenging cluster B personality disorders. This research is conducted in synergy with our clinical and educational programs, with our clinical researchers also serving as practitioners and supervisors for our trainees.

The Non-Clinical Research arm delves into understanding the normal psychological functions of the brain, particularly in areas like interpersonal communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and social interactions. Our modeling approach is distinct from artificial intelligence pursuits; we aim to comprehend how the brain accomplishes tasks rather than replicate these processes. While our findings might inadvertently contribute to AI development, it remains outside our primary goal and mission.

Our Research Programs

The Advanced Psychology Institute’s research department is divided into two main areas: Clinical Research and Non-Clinical Research.

The Clinical Research Division is tasked with carrying out clinical trials and developing new treatments based on Message-Centered Psychology for a variety of issues, including addiction, disorders on the autistic spectrum, dyslexia, dyscalculia, and complex cluster B personality disorders. This research is closely linked with our clinical and educational programs, ensuring a collaborative and practical approach. The researchers in this division are also active clinicians and supervisors for our trainees, bringing real-world experience into their research.

On the other hand, the Non-Clinical Research Division is dedicated to enhancing our understanding of how the brain functions normally. This includes research into interpersonal communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and social interaction. Our approach to this research differs from those working on artificial intelligence; we focus on understanding the brain’s processes rather than trying to replicate them. While our work might indirectly inform AI development, our primary goal remains to deepen our knowledge of human psychological processes.

Clinical Research Areas

Understanding Depression and Treatment Approaches Through Message-Centered Psychology

MCP provides a unique lens to understand the sources of depression and its treatment. It suggests that we possess an intricate model of reality from birth, which we continuously refine through learning and experience. Our actions are preceded by mental simulations within this model, allowing us to evaluate and select the most favorable outcomes. This virtual evaluation, honed by evolution, enables us to make sound decisions. However, when this internal calibration errs, predicting only negative outcomes, the classic symptoms of depression emerge: sadness, indecisiveness, helplessness, guilt, and more. This leads to the critical question: “Why get out of bed if nothing good is going to happen?”

Depression can stem from disruptions in several mental evaluation tools. One tool assesses the potential pleasure or discomfort of an outcome, another gauges its likelihood, and a third appraises the social repercussions. The same symptoms of depression may arise from imbalances in any of these tools, each necessitating a distinct approach to treatment. By understanding these underlying mechanisms, we can tailor our treatment strategies more effectively, addressing the specific needs of each individual’s experience with depression.

Dissociation

Dissociation is one of the most intriguing phenomena in clinical psychology that most people associate with such severe conditions as Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personality) or Fugue. Message-Centered Psychology suggests that dissociation is a normal process that can be experienced by everybody when our conscious intentions contradict our unconscious needs. Our conscious mind is directed mainly at communicating with and presenting ourselves to others. Our know-it-all unconscious mind may have motives that others and our conscious selves may perceive as inappropriate. When the contradiction happens, it resolves itself by creating an alternative conscious personality with slightly different knowledge – with some information conveniently forgotten or exaggerated – and values – with something considered important being perceived as irrelevant and vice versa. Effectively, that turns off our willpower, which is the product of the conscious mind. That may result in multiple often life-threatening mental disorders, including impulsivity, addictive disorders, eating disorders, and cluster B personality disorders. People who tend to see the world in binary black-and-white terms seem to be especially prone to dissociation when their perception collides with the non-binary reality that allows no compromises.

Psycho-Somatic Disorders and Phobias

In Message-Centered Psychology, both psychosomatic disorders and phobias are viewed through a similar lens: they manifest as symptoms (such as pain or fear) that lack an apparent cause (like trauma or danger). Rather than focusing on what causes these conditions, the critical inquiry revolves around their unconscious purpose. It’s essential to recognize that behaviors can simultaneously be unconscious and purposeful. Within this framework, these unconscious purposes are often social in nature, serving as a form of communication.

This understanding paves the way for innovative and enhanced treatment strategies that are effective for both phobias, typically categorized as anxiety disorders and psychosomatic disorders. Our treatments concentrate on identifying and addressing the need for these underlying messages, either by eliminating the need to send them or by finding less harmful ways to communicate them.

Autistic-Dyslexic Spectrum Concept

In collaboration with Rutgers University, Message-Centered Psychology introduces a redefined perspective on the autistic spectrum. Contrary to traditional views, this spectrum doesn’t end at neurotypicality but extends to encompass dyslexia at the opposite end. Human survival hinges on two abilities: discerning differences among similar objects and recognizing similarities among different ones. The former is crucial for detail-oriented tasks, while the latter aids in abstraction, generalization, and categorization.

Individuals with impaired ability to perceive similarities lean towards the autistic side of the spectrum. Conversely, those with difficulties in distinguishing similar objects fall on the dyslexic side. People with autism may struggle to ‘see the forest for the trees,’ focusing on minute details but missing the broader context. On the other hand, those with dyslexia might grasp the ‘forest’ or the bigger picture yet miss out on the ‘trees’ or the finer details. In extreme cases, autistic individuals may find it challenging to learn from past experiences due to even minor environmental changes. At the same time, those with dyslexia might struggle with reading as all letters appear similar, making new learning challenging.

This spectrum concept suggests that everyone falls between these extremes, influencing our character, preferences, strengths, and weaknesses. Understanding one’s position on this spectrum is key to developing treatments that leverage strengths and address weaknesses for both autistic and dyslexic individuals. Moreover, this framework recognizes a new category of individuals needing assistance – those on the dyslexic spectrum – whose needs have been largely overlooked until now.

Non-Clinical Research

Exploring Emotions Through Message-Centered Psychology

Message-Centered Psychology (MCP) offers a comprehensive understanding of emotions, viewing them as pivotal in internal and external nonverbal communication. Internally, emotions function within the brain as feelings; externally, they manifest through nonverbal actions like facial expressions and body language. Central to this process is the concept of a ‘message’ – the underlying communication that needs to be conveyed. MCP focuses on identifying these messages, which are significant to individuals, groups, or society, in response to specific situations recognized by our brain’s pattern recognition capabilities.

As societal complexities increase, the range and necessity of these messages expand, enriching our emotional repertoire. While many emotions are shared with other social animals like primates and dogs, particularly in societies with social hierarchies, human society’s unique multi-hierarchical nature gives rise to distinctly human emotions, such as those associated with social justice.

Understanding the messages behind emotions opens up new, more precise ways of expressing these messages, including verbal communication. Emotion research in MCP is dedicated to identifying, comprehending, and interpreting both the shared and uniquely human aspects of emotions, providing deeper insight into how we communicate and interact within our complex social structures.

Understanding Intuition and Decision-Making via the MCP

Message-Centered Psychology offers a unique perspective on intuition, viewing it as an outcome of the brain’s internal simulations within a virtual model of reality. Intuition emerges from a trial-and-error method of problem-solving. However, unlike real-life experimentation, these ‘trials’ are conducted virtually, making them faster and more cost-effective. Additionally, the brain’s capacity to filter out irrelevant details allows it to apply insights from previous experiences to solve new, similar problems.

For intuition to be effective, it should be applied in tandem with unconscious analytical processes that organize and structure available information. The primary aim of intuition research within Message-Centered Psychology is to map and model these processes. By doing so, we aim to deepen our understanding of human intuition and explore ways to enhance its role in decision-making.”

Advancements in Natural Language Processing Research

Contemporary research predominantly concentrates on analyzing sentence syntax and word semantics in natural language processing. However, real-world speech processing seems to incorporate a more dynamic component akin to a guess-and-check algorithm. This approach becomes particularly effective when the context narrows down the vast array of potential messages a speaker might convey to a manageable few. The method involves comparing one’s hypothetical phrasing to convey a message with what the speaker says. If there’s a notable similarity between these ‘soundbites,’ the likelihood of a correct interpretation increases.

Our research in language processing is dedicated to understanding and modeling this sophisticated ability. By delving into how we intuitively process and interpret language in real time, we aim to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of natural language processing systems.

Bridging Theory and Practice in Teaching and Learning

 

There is a significant gap between our theoretical understanding of learning obtained mainly from experiments with animals and pedagogical practices based on the experience of the teachers. Message-Centered Psychology (MCP) sheds light on this discrepancy by highlighting that humans navigate two realities: the physical world of atoms and energy, and the cultural realm of words and symbols. In contrast, animals inhabit only the former. Remarkably, a child enters the verbal world just a few months after birth, and from that point, their reality is shaped more by the words of others than by their own direct experiences.

MCP introduces several learning mechanisms specific to social and cultural contexts, suggesting innovative approaches to teaching. Our teaching and learning research group is dedicated to developing and evaluating these techniques. Our goal is to bridge the gap between theoretical insights and practical applications in education, enhancing the effectiveness of teaching strategies in nurturing and leveraging human cognitive development.

Exploring Memory Management

 

One of the brain’s most complex and least understood functions is pattern recognition, a process currently being emulated in artificial intelligence (AI) through neural networks and other technologies. However, our interest at the Advanced Psychology Institute lies in what occurs post-pattern recognition, specifically when a recognized pattern necessitates action. This involves the creation and manipulation of a virtual reality model akin to the intricate one each of us maintains in our minds, though not as complex.

The structure of this biological database, or memory management system, is far more advanced than existing database management systems like Oracle or Google’s search engine. The brain’s database is presumed to utilize elaborate ‘indexes’ that enable direct access to relevant information when a specific, specialized index key is identified.

Our memory management research is focused on identifying these unique indexes for various cognitive tasks and modeling them. Understanding the intricacies of the brain’s memory management system could provide groundbreaking insights into human cognition and inform the development of more advanced artificial intelligence systems.

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