Hello SOBP Members,
Many readers may not know of Victor Tausk, who was a judge and journalist, later received medical training, and became a psychoanalyst. He is best known for writing a now classic paper, “On the Origin of the ‘Influencing Machine’ in Schizophrenia,” published in 1919.
Tausk wrote that the influencing machine was a machine of mystical nature, which may consist of boxes, cranks, levers, wheels, buttons, wires, batteries, and the like, but whose construction is very obscure and largely unimaginable to the patient. All the discoveries of mankind, he said, are regarded as inadequate to explain the marvelous powers of this machine, by which patients may feel themselves persecuted. The influencing machine, sometimes described as a “magic lantern” or “cinematograph,” makes patients see pictures that are flat images, like on a windowpane, and not three-dimensional. It produces and removes thoughts and feelings by means of waves or rays or mysterious forces that the patient’s knowledge of physics is inadequate to explain. In this way, Tausk said the influencing machine often is called a “suggestion-apparatus.” It also creates motor phenomena in the body as well as strange, indescribable sensations, either by means of suggestion or by air-currents, electricity, magnetism, or X-rays.
Though the influencing machine serves to persecute the patient and is believed operated by enemies, Tausk noted that the manipulation of the apparatus is obscure to the patient, who rarely has a clear idea of its operation. The patient who is subject to the influencing machine cannot distinguish feelings, thoughts, sensations, and memories that have been caused by this external influence from those that result from their own personal experience. In his paper, Tausk proposes that patients may unconsciously create the concept of an influencing machine as an outward manifestation of confusion about the separation of one’s own thoughts from the experiences of the world outside themselves. The patient, he says, cannot or does not make this distinction.
It has been said that the mission of social media is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Tausk described the case of Miss Natalija A., who believed that a rejected male suitor was trying, by means of suggestion, to bring about a friendship between his sister-in-law, Natalija’s mother, and Natalija herself to make her accept him. When suggestion failed, the suitor subjected her to the influence of the machine. Not only she herself, Natalija told Tausk, but also her mother, her physicians, her friends, all those who had her welfare at heart, came under the influence of this diabolical apparatus.
Can the social media of today be considered a potentially diabolical apparatus? Recent studies, published and unpublished, have demonstrated that it is possible for those who control the function of social media to manipulate the feelings and behaviors of millions of users. Today’s version of a “suggestion-apparatus” or an influencing machine may be Facebook, Instagram, and other social media apps, viewed on the flat windowpane-like screens of smartphones.
As we are now drawing closer to our 2022 SOBP Annual Meeting, to be held April 28-30, 2022 in New Orleans, I was reminded of Tausk’s paper. The theme of the meeting is "Positivity and Happiness in a Worrisome World". Our exciting lineup of plenary sessions and speakers has been announced:

Thursday April 28-Plenary I: Good Life
  • Well-being is a Skill, Richard Davidson                                  
  • Genetics of Happiness and Wellbeing, Meike Bartels                      
  • New Directions in Understanding Moral Cognition, Molly Crockett                                           
  • A Cross-Species Approach to Empathy, its Neurobiology and Relation to Prosocial Behavior, Christian Keysers

Friday April 29- Plenary II: An Unsettled Life
  • Mechanisms of Threat Control, Elizabeth Phelps               
  • Neuroimaging Cognitive and Emotional Processes in Human Drug Addiction: An Eye Towards Intervention Development, Rita Goldstein  
  • Ketamine: Opportunities and Challenges for Translational Therapeutics, Carolyn Rodriguez

Saturday April 30- Plenary III: Approaches to a Good Life
  • Navigating Abstract Space, Daniela Schiller                          
  • Activation of Primate Subcallosal Cingulate Cortex Alters the Balance of Affective Tone From Positivity to Negativity, Angela Roberts
  • Brain Bases of Delight, Desire and Dread, Kent Berridge
  • Psychedelics: Brain Mechanisms, Robin Carhart-Harris   

There is still time to submit oral and poster abstracts by the December 2 deadline. To find more information on the submission guidelines, please click here.
Registration for the meeting begins in December and registration rates will be announced shortly. This year, we are excited to be returning to an in-person meeting with virtual opportunities available for participants that are unable or prefer to attend virtually.
This year brought new challenges with the global pandemic, but let us hope that 2022 brings us more positivity and happiness. We look forward to once again meeting in person.
Robert H. Howland, M.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital
Welcome to the the 2022 SOBP Annual Meeting!
"Positivity and Happiness in a Worrisome World"
WHAT: The 2022 SOBP Annual meeting will provide an interactive platform for learning and discovery. The meeting program will focus on alternative and transformative frameworks for understanding psychiatric illnesses, and present enhanced and newly emerging tools for measurement and manipulation. Within these frameworks and with these tools, techniques and experimental designs are illustrated that can enhance understanding of psychiatric illness and elucidate the biological pathways and markers of illness processes.

WHEN: April 28 - 30, 2022

WHERE: Hilton New Orleans Riverside
2 Poydras Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130


Important Dates:
Oral and Poster Abstracts: December 2, 2021
Late Breaking Poster Abstracts (Opens January 13):February 10, 2022
The safety of our attendees is our top priority. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues, we are monitoring the situation closely and following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health authorities.
To help us better plan the SOBP Annual Meeting please fill out the below survey. This anonymous and voluntary survey will help SOBP make decisions regarding the 2022 Annual Meeting; however, the results of this survey will not be the only information used in the decision-making process
The Society of Biological Psychiatry is looking for ideas and initiatives to serve its members and meeting attendees. The Society is setting aside money each year to fund these initiatives. The purpose of this form is to collect ideas from SOBP members for initiatives or programs that would fill a need for the field or the Society and be funded by the Society. Please click on the link below to apply. Council will discuss these submitted ideas in December of 2021. Programs that are selected will be contacted by the Office and Council to begin the planning. 
Membership has its benefits! Don't forget to renew your 2022 SOBP Membership by logging into the SOBP website, updating your profile and paying your membership dues. 

Benefits of membership include:
  • All members can register for the Society of Biological Psychiatry’s Annual Meeting at the reduced registration fee. This represents a significant savings from the full-cost, non-member registration fee of $745.
  • Reduced abstract submission fee of $0 vs $40 for non-members.
  • All members will receive a subscription, both print and online, to Biological Psychiatry, the official publication of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, and online subscription to the new journal Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.  This is a $798 value!
  • Leadership opportunities on committees.
  • Sponsorship of abstracts or member applications.
  • Access to members-only on-line tools.
  • Recognition and affiliation with a premier organization.
  • Networking and professional development.
SOBP Women's Leadership Group - Resources for Women In Academia
The Women’s Leadership Group (WLG) was formed in 2015 at the 70th annual meeting of the Society in response to the need to provide a platform for change that recognizes the challenges faced by women, raises awareness of implicit gender biases, and offers women opportunities and tools for advancement and leadership.
Don't miss this page launched by SOBP's Women In Leadership Group (WLG) - Resources for Women in Academia. This web page features great resources for women in academia during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other wonderful resources recommended by the WLG.

SOBP's Career Center connects our members with employment opportunities and employers with the best professionals within our membership. Employment opportunities range from post-doc positions, faculty positions, neuroscience jobs in industry and alternative careers. 
Visit SOBP's Career Center today to explore employment opportunities. Post an anonymous resume for employers or recruiters to view. 
Links to other resources are available for your convenience. 

It is one of the most selective and highly cited journals in the field of psychiatric neuroscience. It is ranked 7th out of 155 Psychiatry titles and 12th out of 271 Neurosciences titles in the 2019 ISI Journal Citations Reports® published by Clarivate Analytics. The 2019 Impact Factor score for Biological Psychiatry is 12.095. Biological Psychiatry is also the first-ranked psychiatry journal according to Google Scholar (July 2020).

Biological Psychiatry is pleased to announce that the spin-off journal, Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging (BP:CNNI) was launched in January 2016, led by its founding editor, Cameron S. Carter. This new journal publishes fundamental advances from both basic and clinical studies that provide novel insights into the relationships between brain and behavior using the tools and constructs of cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging. It is ranked 47th out of 271 Neurosciences titles in the 2019 ISI Journal Citations Reports® published by Clarivate Analytics. The 2019 Impact Factor score for Biological Psychiatry: CNNI is 5.335.BP:CNNI welcomes new submissions.

Launched in 2020, led by its founding editor, Deanna M. Barch. BP:GOS will be a fully open-access journal. It is intended to be aligned with global initiatives to promote the dissemination of science through open access, such as Plan S (https://www.coalition-s.org/) and the goals of open science more broadly. Second, this new journal will complement both BP and BP:CNNI. BP:GOS welcomes new submissions.
Society of Biological Psychiatry Newsletter Editorial Staff  
Robert Howland, M.D., Editor