Read Montague (born 1960) is an American neuroscientist and popular science author. He is the director of the Human Neuroimaging Lab and Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke, Virginia, where he also holds the title of the inaugural Virginia Tech Carilion Vernon Mountcastle Research Professor. Montague is also a professor in the department of physics at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. He also holds a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship at The Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London.
Montague’s work has long focused on computational neuroscience – the connection between physical mechanisms present in real neural tissue and the computational functions that these mechanisms embody. His early theoretical work focused on the hypothesis that dopaminergic systems encode a particular kind of computational process, a reward prediction error signal, similar to those used in areas of artificial intelligence like optimal control. This work, carried out in collaboration with Peter Dayan and Terry Sejnowski, focused on prediction as a guiding concept in terms of synaptic learning rules that would underlie learning, valuation, and choice. This work proposed a modification to the then dominant idea of Hebbian or correlational learning. In particular, it was shown that dopamine neurons and homologous octopaminergic neurons in bees display a reward prediction error signal exactly consonant with the temporal difference error signal familiar from models of conditioning proposed by Sutton and Barto during the 1980s.
In pursuit of testing these prediction error ideas in humans, Montague founded the Human Neuroimaging Lab at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and pursued functional neuroimaging experiments analogous to those used in other model species. This work tested the reward prediction error model in human subjects using simple conditioning experiments directly analogous to those used in rodents and non-human primates. His group then tested the reward prediction error idea during an abstract task of social exchange between two interacting humans and showed striatal BOLD signals that changed their timing consistent with a prediction error signal, but in the context of a social exchange. They also tested the idea of cultural brand identity and its impact on reward prediction error signals. With Brooks King-Casas and colleagues, Montague later applied the same social exchange approach as a probe of Borderline Personality Disorder, and these efforts have been used to provide a new probe of psychopathology.
Montague and colleagues have also pursued the nature of counterfactual signals in human subjects and their relationship to prediction error signaling. This work has most recently led to a first-of-its-kind measurement of sub-second dopamine fluctuations in the striatum of conscious human subjects where reward prediction error signals and counterfactual errors signals appear to be integrated into a composite dopamine signal.
Montague graduated from Auburn University in 1983, with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. In 1988, he earned a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. He continued his training with a fellowship in theoretical neurobiology at The Neurosciences Institute at Rockefeller University. After completion of that fellowship, he completed another fellowship in the Computational Neurobiology Lab at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
Montague is the director of the Human Neuroimaging Lab and Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute in Roanoke, Virginia, where he also holds the title of the inaugural Virginia Tech Carilion Vernon Mountcastle Research Professor. Montague is also a professor in the department of physics at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. He also holds a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship at The Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London.
Before moving to the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Montague was the Brown Foundation Professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine, founding director of the Human Neuroimaging Lab, and founding director in 2006 of the Computational Psychiatry Unit. He was also a professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine.
Montague has written a nonfiction work aimed at lay audiences entitled Why Choose This Book?: How We Make Decisions. The book discusses with (mostly) non-technical language the neuroscience and psychology of decision making.
Montague also gave a TEDGlobal Talk in 2012 where he explained how functional MRI has opened a window on the neural basis of human social interaction and how such approaches may open a window on the neural basis of social disorders. He specifically spoke about how real-time imaging allows researchers to examine the complicated neural underpinnings of human interaction.
Awards and honors
- Michael E. DeBakey Excellence in Research Award: 1997, 2005
- Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey: 2005-2006
- Kavli Fellow, 2010 National Academy of Sciences, U.S. - China Frontiers of Science
- Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship, 2011-2018
- Walter Gilbert Award, Auburn University, 2011
- Network Member, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience
- William R. and Irene D. Miller Lectureship Recipient, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 2011-2012
- Your Brain Is (Almost) Perfect: How We Make Decisions. New York: Plume, 2007. ISBN 978-0-452-28884-3, previously published as Why Choose This Book?: How We Make Decisions. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc. ISBN 0-525-94982-8
- Montague, PR; Dayan, P; Nowlan, SJ; Pouget, A; Sejnowski, TJ (1993). "Using Aperiodic Reinforcement for Directed Self-Organization During Development" (PDF). Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems. 5: 969–976.
- Montague, PR; Dayan, P; Sejnowski, TJ (1994a). Foraging in an Uncertain Environment Using Predictive Hebbian Learning (PDF). 6. pp. 598–605.
- Montague, PR; Sejnowski, TJ. (1994b). "The predictive brain: Temporal coincidence and temporal order in synaptic learning mechanisms" (PDF). Learning and Memory. 1: 1–33. PMID 10467583.
- Montague, PR; Gancayco, CD; Winn, MJ; Marchase, RB; Friedlander, MJ. (1994-02-18). "Role of NO production in NMDA receptor-mediated neurotransmitter release in cerebral cortex" (PDF). Science. 263 (5149): 973–977. doi:10.1126/science.7508638. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 7508638.
- Montague, PR; Dayan, P; Sejnowski, TJ. (1996-03-01). "A framework for mesencephalic dopamine systems based on predictive Hebbian learning" (PDF). The Journal of Neuroscience. 16 (5): 1936–1947. ISSN 0270-6474. PMID 8774460.
- Montague, PR; Dayan, P; Person, C; Sejnowski, TJ. (1995-10-26). "Bee foraging in uncertain environments using predictive hebbian learning" (PDF). Nature. 377 (6551): 725–728. doi:10.1038/377725a0. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 7477260.
- Schultz, W; Dayan, P; Montague, PR. (1997-03-14). "A neural substrate of prediction and reward" (PDF). Science. 275 (5306): 1593–1599. doi:10.1126/science.275.5306.1593. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 9054347.
- Berns, GS; McClure, SM; Pagnoni, G; Montague, PR. (2001-04-15). "Predictability modulates human brain response to reward" (PDF). The Journal of Neuroscience. 21 (8): 2793–2798. ISSN 1529-2401. PMID 11306631.
- Montague, PR; Berns, GS. (2002-10-10). "Neural economics and the biological substrates of valuation" (PDF). Neuron. 36 (2): 265–284. doi:10.1016/s0896-6273(02)00974-1. ISSN 0896-6273. PMID 12383781.
- McClure, SM; Daw, ND; Montague, PR. (2003-08-01). "A computational substrate for incentive salience" (PDF). Trends in Neurosciences. 26 (8): 423–428. doi:10.1016/s0166-2236(03)00177-2. ISSN 0166-2236. PMID 12900173.
- McClure, SM; Berns, GS; Montague, PR. (2003-04-24). "Temporal prediction errors in a passive learning task activate human striatum" (PDF). Neuron. 38 (2): 339–346. doi:10.1016/s0896-6273(03)00154-5. ISSN 0896-6273. PMID 12718866.
- Braver, TS; Brown, JW. (Journals). "Principles of Pleasure Prediction: Specifying the Neural Dynamics of Human Reward Learning" (PDF). Neuron. 38: 150–152. doi:10.1016/S0896-6273(03)00230-7. Retrieved 2003-04-24. Check date values in:
- King-Casas, BB; Tomlin, D; Anen, C; Camerer, CF; Quartz, SR; Montague, PR. (2005-04-01). "Getting to Know You: Reputation and Trust in a Two-Person Economic Exchange" (PDF). Science. 308 (5718): 78–83. doi:10.1126/science.1108062. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 15802598.
- McClure, SM; Li, J; Tomlin, D; Cypert, KS; Montague, LM; Montague, PR. (2004-10-14). "Neural correlates of behavioral preference for culturally familiar drinks" (PDF). Neuron. 44 (2): 379–387. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2004.09.019. ISSN 0896-6273. PMID 15473974.
- King-Casas, B; Sharp, C; Lomax-Bream, L; Lohrenz, T; Fonagy, P; Montague, PR. (2008-08-08). "The Rupture and Repair of Cooperation in Borderline Personality Disorder" (PDF). Science. 321 (5890): 806–810. doi:10.1126/science.1156902. ISSN 0036-8075. PMC 4105006. PMID 18687957.
- Chiu, PH; Lohrenz, TM; Montague, PR. (2008-04-01). "Smokers' brains compute, but ignore, a fictive error signal in a sequential investment task" (PDF). Nature Neuroscience. 11 (4): 514–520. doi:10.1038/nn2067. ISSN 1097-6256. PMID 18311134.
- Chiu, PH; Kayali, MA; Kishida, KT; Tomlin, D; Klinger, LG; Klinger, MR; Montague, PR. (2008-02-07). "Self responses along cingulate cortex reveal quantitative neural phenotype for high-functioning autism" (PDF). Neuron. 57 (3): 463–473. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2007.12.020. ISSN 0896-6273. PMC 4512741. PMID 18255038.
- Koshelev, M; Lohrenz, T; Vannucci, M; Montague, PR. (2010-10-21). "Biosensor approach to psychopathology classification" (PDF). PLOS Computational Biology. 6 (10): e1000966. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000966. ISSN 1553-7358. PMC 2958801. PMID 20975934.
- Xiang, T; Ray, D; Lohrenz, T; Dayan, P; Montague, PR. (2012-01-01). "Computational phenotyping of two-person interactions reveals differential neural response to depth-of-thought" (PDF). PLOS Computational Biology. 8 (12): e1002841. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002841. ISSN 1553-7358. PMC 3531325. PMID 23300423.
- Lohrenz, T; McCabe, K; Camerer, CF; Montague, PR. (2007-05-29). "Neural signature of fictive learning signals in a sequential investment task" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 104 (22): 9493–9498. doi:10.1073/pnas.0608842104. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 1876162. PMID 17519340.
- Lohrenz, T; Bhatt, M; Apple, N; Montague, PR. (2013-10-01). "Keeping up with the Joneses: interpersonal prediction errors and the correlation of behavior in a tandem sequential choice task" (PDF). PLOS Computational Biology. 9 (10): e1003275. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003275. ISSN 1553-7358. PMC 3812045. PMID 24204226.
- Kishida, KT; Saez, I; Lohrenz, T; Witcher, MR; Laxton, AW; Tatter, SB; White, JP; Ellis, TL; Phillips, PEM; Montague, PR. (2016-01-05). "Subsecond dopamine fluctuations in human striatum encode superposed error signals about actual and counterfactual reward" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 113 (1): 200–205. doi:10.1073/pnas.1513619112. ISSN 1091-6490. PMC 4711839. PMID 26598677.
- Platt, ML; Pearson, JM (2016-01-05). "Dopamine: Context and counterfactuals" (PDF). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 113 (1): 22–23. doi:10.1073/pnas.1522315113. ISSN 1091-6490. PMC 4711875. PMID 26699497.