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Neuropsychological basis of neuropsychiatry 

Neuropsychological basis of neuropsychiatry
Neuropsychological basis of neuropsychiatry

L. Clark

, B. J. Sahakian

, and T. W. Robbins

Page of

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date: 06 July 2022

Psychiatry is the science of psychopathology, and as such, the measurement of behaviour and cognition is central to its theory and methodology. Neuropsychology provides such measures, which can be used to augment the psychiatric interview and other clinical instruments, as well as to provide an interface with other important approaches including functional brain imaging (see Dolan, this volume), functional genomics, and clinical psychopharmacology. Clinical neuropsychology has developed via the need to assess brain-damaged patients, whereas in most neuropsychiatric disorders, such damage is much less well defined if it is present at all. Thus, whilst there is growing information about specific brain abnormalities in many forms of neuropsychiatric disorder, the lesion model is not necessarily the most appropriate. Moreover, some of the deficits in disorders such as depression and anxiety involve subtle interactions between specific emotional and attentional mechanisms with cognitive function. Therefore, the study of neuropsychiatric patients has also enriched our understanding of clinical neuropsychology. We predict that these aspects of the discipline will develop considerably in the next few years, particularly in combination with data from other domains such as functional brain imaging and pharmacogenetics. Indeed, the specification of specific neural systems implicated in core behavioural or cognitive processes may well aid the enterprise of psychiatric genetics by providing more precise definitions of phenotypes (or endophenotypes) than are currently feasible in nosology (e.g. as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual).

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