2024 Outstanding Clinical and Community Research Award

Jean-Paul Selten Named the 2024 Outstanding Clinical and Community Research Awardee

I am so honoured and moved to receive this award from my peers in the Society. I am very, very happy with the recognition for my work. I am also grateful for the encouragement I received from a large number of colleagues, all of whom I cannot name here. Nonetheless, I would like to mention Jim van Os, who supported the establishment of a chair for social exclusion and mental disorder at the University of Maastricht, Fabian Termorshuizen, who assisted me in many areas in an expert and loyal manner, Robin Murray, who managed to encourage me with just a few words a year (!), and Marta Di Forti, who submitted the nomination for this award. I would also like to thank Rivierduinen Mental Health Care at Leiden, The Netherlands, for generous support. Finally, let us not forget that these findings constitute one more reason why the fight against discrimination and the accompanying humiliation is so important.

A Message from Marta Di Forti

Professor Jean-Paul Selten’s research has given an outstanding contribution to clinical and community research. He played a major role in establishing “history of migration” and “disadvantaged ethnic minority status” as risk factors for the disorder. He is the father of the “social defeat” theory of Schiophrenia. The latter posits that an outsider status or subordinate position is a common mechanism underlying the increased risks for non-western migrants, city residents, individuals with a low IQ and drug users. He proposed in collaboration with colleagues that social defeat led to a sensitisation of the mesolimbic dopamine system or to increased baseline activity of this system (Selten & Cantor-Graae, 2005). While the evidence of the “dopamine part” of the hypothesis is mixed, the epidemiological part of the hypothesis is increasingly supported. Jean-Paul and colleagues reported increased risks for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (Selten et al. 2015), for homosexuals (Gevonden et al. 2014) and transgenders (Termorshuizen et al. 2023). Thus, the social defeat hypothesis has offered very important heuristic and translational value for present and future research as well as informing social policy and prevention for the those in a minority status at risk of psychotic disorder or already suffering from it. Jean-Paul Selten truly deserves this award.
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