Evolutionary developmental psychopathology

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Evolutionary developmental psychopathology is an approach to the understanding of psychiatric disorders based on the following:

  • human adaptations were forged to function in past environments rather than the current environment;
  • investigations of brain-damaged patients should be included in the modeling of disorders to facilitate the mapping of psychological functions on to brain systems;
  • investigations of behavioural abnormalities should be combined with those on information-processing abnormalities in a scheme that acknowledges both cognition and affect as components of information processing;
  • investigation of specific signs and symptoms, rather than syndromes, as symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations, for example, are observed in patients who currently fall into a number of diagnostic categories, including schizophrenia and affective psychosis;
  • the expectation that complex psychological processes will be broken down into simpler tasks that can be performed by mindless agents;
  • research should be particularly attentive to any data showing sexual dimorphism and changes in psychological functioning and neural architecture across the lifespan, and therefore to comparisons between adults, adolescents, and children.

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