Dr. Sarah Fineberg, 2014 Graduate

Sarah Fineberg

Why I Chose Yale

I came to Yale in 2010 for psychiatry residency. I had been trained in molecular neuroscience at the University of Iowa, and I was interested in moving toward work with people. At Yale, I have been able to learn about cognition and experience as I simultaneously trained in psychotherapy and social neuroscience. The depth and breadth of expertise in the Yale Department of Psychiatry has allowed me to develop a somewhat quirky interdisciplinary approach that weaves together qualitative and quantitative understandings of patients.

What I'm Working on Now

I study social cognition in Borderline Personality Disorder. There is a rich clinical literature describing people with BPD, and I think that we can build on this knowledge base by quantifying specific aspects of social interaction. I use cognitive and behavioral tasks to measure decision-making and learning. Some of them are quite simple, like how close a person stands to a stranger. Others use computational models to examine how subjects do tasks in social learning like cooperating or withholding cooperation after a betrayal. Having quantifiable measures of these granular functions may help us to identify brain regions driving social difficulties, and may allow us to predict prognosis and track recovery in response to specific interventions.

I’m also very interested in how clinicians can work more effectively with patients who often experience social conflict. These patients may come to be seen as “difficult.” I collaborate with others to build and promote curricula for clinicians to help decrease stigma and increase competence in treating BPD.

Favorite Things to do in New Haven

There are lots of lovely restaurants in New Haven. One favorite is L’Orcio – I can often be found there on Tuesdays for the $10 homemade pasta specials. I also really like the the moules frites at Shell and Bones, which is right on the water in the Long Island Sound. Near the hospital, I often meet friends and colleagues for a quick lunch from the food carts – the green beans and carrots at the Ethiopian cart are a must-try! I also like to cook and I often pick up ingredients from one of several Italian markets around the corner from my apartment. These are a nice place to grab a snack or a morning coffee under an umbrella when the weather’s nice. Theater in New Haven is also plentiful and interesting. The Yale Rep is the big mainstage, but my real favorite is the Caberet: a small black box dinner theater where theater students workshop often-experimental pieces. It’s lively and the food is amazing!