Mechanisms of madness: Evolutionary psychiatry without evolutionary psychology

Biology and Philosophy 22 (1):35-56 (2007)
Abstract
Delusions are currently characterised as false beliefs produced by incorrect inference about external reality (DSM IV). This inferential conception has proved hard to link to explanations pitched at the level of neurobiology and neuroanatomy. This paper provides that link via a neurocomputational theory, based on evolutionary considerations, of the role of the prefrontal cortex in regulating offline cognition. When pathologically neuromodulated the prefrontal cortex produces hypersalient experiences which monopolise offline cognition. The result is characteristic psychotic experiences and patterns of thought. This bottom-up account uses neural network theory to integrate recent theories of the role of dopamine in delusion with the insights of inferential accounts. It also provides a general model for evolutionary psychiatry which avoids theoretical problems imported from evolutionary psychology
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