Mad scientists or unreliable autobiographers? Dopamine dysregulation and delusion

Philip Gerrans

in Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780199238033
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754562 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

Mad scientists or unreliable autobiographers? Dopamine dysregulation and delusion

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Delusions are currently characterized as false beliefs produced by incorrect inference about external reality (DSM-IV, 1994). This inferential account has proved hard to link to explanations pitched at the level of neurobiology and neuroanatomy. In particular, the crucial role of neurotransmitters in psychosis seems to elude theoretical capture within the inferential framework. One result is the unhappy oscillation between biological psychiatry and psychiatric approaches whose target is the phenomenology of irrational belief. This chapter provides the link between biology and phenomenology. The link is a neurocomputational theory, based on evolutionary considerations of the cognitive role of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). I develop the account by considering how it fits with with Shitij Kapur’s influential attempt to link dopamine dysregulation to the phenomenology of schizophrenia.

Chapter.  9033 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry ; Clinical Neuroscience

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