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The computational psychiatry of reward: broken brains or misguided minds?

Moutoussis, M; Story, GW; Dolan, RJ; (2015) The computational psychiatry of reward: broken brains or misguided minds? Front Psychol , 6 , Article 01445. 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01445. Green open access

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Abstract

Research into the biological basis of emotional and motivational disorders is in danger of riding roughshod over a patient-centered psychiatry and falling into the dualist errors of the past, i.e., by treating mind and brain as conceptually distinct. We argue that a psychiatry informed by computational neuroscience, computational psychiatry, can obviate this danger. Through a focus on the reasoning processes by which humans attempt to maximize reward (and minimize punishment), and how such reasoning is expressed neurally, computational psychiatry can render obsolete the polarity between biological and psychosocial conceptions of illness. Here, the term 'psychological' comes to refer to information processing performed by biological agents, seen in light of underlying goals. We reflect on the implications of this perspective for a definition of mental disorder, including what is entailed in asserting that a particular disorder is 'biological' or 'psychological' in origin. We propose that a computational approach assists in understanding the topography of mental disorder, while cautioning that the point at which eccentric reasoning constitutes disorder often remains a matter of cultural judgment.

Type: Article
Title: The computational psychiatry of reward: broken brains or misguided minds?
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01445
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01445
Additional information: Copyright © 2015 Moutoussis, Story and Dolan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: Bayesian inference, computational psychiatry, dualism, optimality, psychiatric nosology
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 > Division of Psychiatry
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/1473507
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