Current Directions in Psychological Science
Formal Innovations to Clinical Cognitive Science and Assessment Contemporary directions in translational clinical science have taken on a wave of mathematical modeling of symptom-related cognitive abnormalities. The basic research paradigm for this movement is illustrated in Figure 1. Mathematical models of cognitive performance among healthy individuals are adjusted to accommodate deviations from normal performance, among participants with selected forms of psychopathology—mental disturbance. Such deviations typically center around cognitive-performance speed and/or accuracy. Parts of the model remaining intact are considered to indicate cognitive functions that are spared, while those parts where performance deviations compel modification of the model are flagged as signifying disorder-affected functions. Minimal adjustment of the model is desired, in the interest of parsimony. In this way, models provide a formal framework to determine which cognitive processes do or do not differ between clinical groups and healthy controls. Such formal theoretical developments can offer multiple advantages in explanation and measurement of psychopathology. A case study of developments and advantages is presented, involving symptom-related cognitive neuroscience of schizophrenia. Rounding out the research paradigm depicted in Figure 1, the domain of clinical mathematical cognitive neuroscience stands to uniquely contribute to mainstream mathematical
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Mathematical modeling is increasingly driving progress in clinical cognitive science and assessment. Mathematical modeling is essential for detecting certain effects of psychopathology – mental disturbance--through comprehensive understanding of tell-tale cognitive variables such as workload capacity and efficiency in using capacity, and their contrast under quantitative measurement. The research paradigm guiding this formal clinical science is outlined. An example using a distinctive cognitive abnormality in schizophrenia – taking longer to cognitively represent encountered stimulation – provides an illustration of a quantitative framework for studying intricate mental health-impairing phenomena. Added benefits of formal developments, among others, include symptom description and prediction, new methods of cognitive- and statistical-science grounded clinical assessment over time, both for individuals and treatment regimens, and refinement of the cognitive-function side of clinical functional neuroimaging.
Citation of this paper:
Neufeld, R. W.. J., & Shanahan, M. J. (in press). Formal innovations to clinical cognitive science and assessment. Current Directions in Psychological Science.