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Why Depressed Mood is Adaptive: A Numerical Proof of Principle for an Evolutionary Systems Theory of Depression.

Constant, A; Hesp, C; Davey, CG; Friston, KJ; Badcock, PB; (2021) Why Depressed Mood is Adaptive: A Numerical Proof of Principle for an Evolutionary Systems Theory of Depression. Computational Psychiatry , 5 (1) pp. 60-80. 10.5334/cpsy.70. Green open access

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Abstract

We provide a proof of principle for an evolutionary systems theory (EST) of depression. This theory suggests that normative depressive symptoms counter socioenvironmental volatility by increasing interpersonal support via social signalling and that this response depends upon the encoding of uncertainty about social contingencies, which can be targeted by neuromodulatory antidepressants. We simulated agents that committed to a series of decisions in a social two-arm bandit task before and after social adversity, which precipitated depressive symptoms. Responses to social adversity were modelled under various combinations of social support and pharmacotherapy. The normative depressive phenotype responded positively to social support and simulated treatments with antidepressants. Attracting social support and administering antidepressants also alleviated anhedonia and social withdrawal, speaking to improvements in interpersonal relationships. These results support the EST of depression by demonstrating that following adversity, normative depressed mood preserved social inclusion with appropriate interpersonal support or pharmacotherapy.

Type: Article
Title: Why Depressed Mood is Adaptive: A Numerical Proof of Principle for an Evolutionary Systems Theory of Depression.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.5334/cpsy.70
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.5334/cpsy.70
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Active inference, Adaptive Prior, Anhedonia, Computational phenotyping, Depression, Evolutionary systems theory, Simulation study, Social risk hypothesis, Social withdrawal, Two-arm bandit
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10130099
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