Message from Head Investigator

Head Investigator Noriko OSUMI

Head Investigator

Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine
Professor Noriko OSUMI

One of my favorite fine art is a masterpiece of Eugene Henri Paul Gauguin entitled “Where are we from? Where are we? Where are we going?” His question “Where are we?” includes both universality and individuality. How are we, human beings, different from other animals? How are Japanese different from caucasian? Or, ultimately, “What am I?” We believe that a hint to solve these fundamental questions can be found in understanding development and evolution.

Psychology has challenged to understand principles of “individual differences (individualities)” regarding cognition and personality, although the neurobiological basis for Individuality is still at the level of description. Individual differences can be seen not only in humans but also in animals, and therefore, understanding individual difference can be a common important issue that should be elucidated by neuroscientific approaches. Recent advancement in informatics with remarkable technical/computational innovation has now appreciated an era of big data. It is thus just about to be the right time to tackle human individuality issues from universality to severalty at multiple levels and in various fields by integrating genomic data, brain imaging data, and their resulting cognitive/behavioral data, and by comparing human and animal data.

We now establish an interdisciplinary research platform to understand how “individuality” emerges, hoping to create a new discipline “individuology”. We would like to integrate psychology of adults and developmental science, neural development and neurogenesis, big data and mathematical engineering, which will have great impact on various academic fields such as education, humanity, medical science, and informatics. We would also like to establish a data-sharing international platform by uploading our raw data to contribute to the world. Our findings in scientific understanding of individuality will be able to be applied to the society. Therefore, we would also like to pay keen attention to Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues not to let our scientific findings misconducted by the society by offering the basis for social consensus.

In this website, we publish our research findings as well as discussion on individuality issues among researchers and between scientists and citizens. We do hope kind understanding and sincere encouragement on our activity. Thank you!