Mental Health & Neurology

Post-Doctoral Fellowships


Self-beliefs: Mathematical models of self believe and link with mental health

Mental health has become a major public health issue worldwide. In France, it is currently a governmental priority, prompted by a matter of urgency: one in five people will suffer at least one episode of depression over their lifetime; about 25 suicides are committed every day, and many more attempts are made, leading to a considerable human and financial burden.
In her previous work, Dr Marion Rouault, a post-doctoral AXA Research Fund grantee from Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), has studied global beliefs about ourselves and our own abilities (“self-beliefs”). Self-beliefs are a key predictor in the emergence of mental health disorders, particularly those of anxious and depressive nature, and they carry important consequences for real-life decisions. However, it remains unclear how self-beliefs are formed, and why there is an enormous inter-individual variability in self-evaluation.

Dr Rouault aims at bridging the knowledge gap through a research project based on : innovative transdiagnostic methods to examine whether people with anxious and depressive symptoms tend to transfer a low confidence level across multiple domains, and whether or not they gain renewed in the face of new positive experiences.

Furthermore, she aims at modelling the mechanisms by which self-evaluation influences performance. To establish a complete understanding of the role of confidence in behavior, it is necessary to first develop formal theoretical models, which will then generate new predictions on the alterations of the neural circuits responsible for the updating of self-beliefs in mental health disorders.

This research project is at the intersection of neuroscience, mathematical modelling and mental health and will allow a better understanding of a critical aspect of human cognition: self-evaluation and self-confidence, which is altered in many mental health disorders. Her research findings will be useful both in clinical and educational settings.



Ecole Normale Supérieure





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