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Warren Mansell (University of Manchester) - Classification of Psychopathology and Unifying Theory: Do we need a Darwinian Paradigm Shift in Research Methodology?

A Mood Disorders Centre seminar
Date11 November 2016
Time12:00 to 13:00
PlaceMood Disorders Centre G17

Mood Disorder Centre Think-Tank seminar series. All welcome.

Warren Mansell (University of Manchester) will be giving a seminar with the title 'Classification of Psychopathology and Unifying Theory: Do we need a Darwinian Paradigm Shift in Research Methodology?'.

The Think-Tank seminar series is organised by Heather O’Mahen, Lorna Cook, Matthew Owens-Solari and Matthew Lomas (mdcadmin@exeter.ac.uk).


The field of psychopathology needs a paradigm shift to revitalise its research methodology and translational practice. I will describe Darwin’s transformation of biology and its implications for science and culture, and infer the implications of an analogous approach to psychopathology. Darwin challenged the assumptions of the biological classification system with compelling evidence to support a quantifiable, mechanistic theory of change across all life. Specifically, he showed that species were changeable, that individuals showed substantial variation in their features, and that these features were functional adaptations to the environment. Similarly, there is substantial evidence of continuous change, shared symptoms and functionality across the categories of psychiatric classification. I will describe a novel research methodology that focuses on identifying universal processes within heterogeneous mental health samples, assumes a ‘closed loop’ understanding of behaviour within experimental designs, and ultimately involves testing functional computational models of individuals.

Mansell, W., Carey, T. A., & Tai, S. J. (2015). Classification of psychopathology and unifying theory: The ingredients of a Darwinian paradigm shift in research methodology. Psychopathology Review, 2, 129-153. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5127/pr.036114.

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