Biocognitive classification of antisocial individuals without explanatory reductionism
SourcePerspectives on Psychological Science, 15, 4, (2020), pp. 957-972
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC NRP
Perspectives on Psychological Science
SubjectNeuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology; Neuro- en revalidatiepsychologie
Effective and specifically targeted social and therapeutic responses for antisocial personality disorders and psychopathy are scarce. Some authors maintain that this scarcity should be overcome by revising current syndrome-based classifications of these conditions and devising better biocognitive classifications of antisocial individuals. The inspiration for the latter classifications has been embedded in the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) approach. RDoC-type approaches to psychiatric research aim at transforming diagnosis, provide valid measures of disorders, aid clinical practice, and improve health outcomes by integrating the data on the genetic, neural, cognitive, and affective systems underlying psychiatric conditions. In the first part of the article, we discuss the benefits of such approaches compared with the dominant syndrome-based approaches and review recent attempts at building biocognitive classifications of antisocial individuals. Other researchers, however, have objected that biocognitive approaches in psychiatry are committed to an untenable form of explanatory reductionism. Explanatory reductionism is the view that psychological disorders can be exclusively categorized and explained in terms of their biological causes. In the second part of the article, we argue that RDoC-like approaches need not be associated with explanatory reductionism. Moreover, we argue how this is the case for a specific biocognitive approach to classifying antisocial individuals.
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