Understanding mental health through computers: An introduction to computational psychiatry

Frontiers in psychiatry

Front Psychiatry. 2023 Feb 7;14:1092471. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1092471. eCollection 2023.


Computational psychiatry recently established itself as a new tool in the study of mental disorders and problems. Integration of different levels of analysis is creating computational phenotypes with clinical and research values, and constructing a way to arrive at precision psychiatry are part of this new branch. It conceptualizes the brain as a computational organ that receives from the environment parameters to respond to challenges through calculations and algorithms in continuous feedback and feedforward loops with a permanent degree of uncertainty. Through this conception, one can seize an understanding of the cerebral and mental processes in the form of theories or hypotheses based on data. Using these approximations, a better understanding of the disorder and its different determinant factors facilitates the diagnostics and treatment by having an individual, ecologic, and holistic approach. It is a tool that can be used to homologate and integrate multiple sources of information given by several theoretical models. In conclusion, it helps psychiatry achieve precision and reproducibility, which can help the mental health field achieve significant advancement. This article is a narrative review of the basis of the functioning of computational psychiatry with a critical analysis of its concepts.

PMID:36824671 | PMC:PMC9941647 | DOI:10.3389/fpsyt.2023.1092471