Stabilizing Constructs through Collaboration across Different Research Fields as a Way to Foster the Integrative Approach of the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Project.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
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More than 450 million people worldwide suffer from neuropsychiatric disorders and the numbers continue to rise (WHO, 2016). In 2010, aiming to solve the global mental health crisis and advance psychiatry toward a precision medicine approach, the US National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) initiated the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Project (Cuthbert and Insel, 2013). Scientists at NIMH importantly recognize that understanding and explaining psychopathological phenomena requires input from different areas of science that investigate the role of different units of analysis (e.g., genes, cells, systems) in the production of organism-level behavioral functions. The RDoC matrix is put forward as a context for integrating results from these different sciences into a taxonomy of putatively valid constructs they purportedly share in common. It is intended to facilitate the development of “integrative psychobiological explanations” of those behavioral functions designated by the constructs (Cuthbert and Kozak, 2013, p. 931; See also Sanislow et al., 2010). Such explanations, by shedding light on the mechanisms of these functions, will enable investigators to pinpoint viable targets for therapeutic intervention in cases in which these functions are disrupted.
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