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Characterizing a psychiatric symptom dimension related to deficits in goal-directed control

Author(s): Gillan, Claire M.; Kosinski, Michal; Whelan, Robert; Phelps, Elizabeth A.; Daw, Nathaniel D.

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Abstract: Prominent theories suggest that compulsive behaviors, characteristic of obsessive-compulsive disorder and addiction, are driven by shared deficits in goal-directed control, which confers vulnerability for developing rigid habits. However, recent studies have shown that deficient goal-directed control accompanies several disorders, including those without an obvious compulsive element. Reasoning that this lack of clinical specificity might reflect broader issues with psychiatric diagnostic categories, we investigated whether a dimensional approach would better delineate the clinical manifestations of goal-directed deficits. Using large-scale online assessment of psychiatric symptoms and neurocognitive performance in two independent general-population samples, we found that deficits in goal-directed control were most strongly associated with a symptom dimension comprising compulsive behavior and intrusive thought. This association was highly specific when compared to other non-compulsive aspects of psychopathology. These data showcase a powerful new methodology and highlight the potential of a dimensional, biologically-grounded approach to psychiatry research.
Publication Date: Mar-2016
Citation: Gillan, Claire M, Kosinski, Michal, Whelan, Robert, Phelps, Elizabeth A, Daw, Nathaniel D. (2016). Characterizing a psychiatric symptom dimension related to deficits in goal-directed control.. eLife, 5 (10.7554/eLife.11305
DOI: doi:10.7554/eLife.11305
ISSN: 2050-084X
EISSN: 2050-084X
Language: eng
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: eLife
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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