Modeling subjective belief states in computational psychiatry: interoceptive inference as a candidate framework

Abstract

The nascent field computational psychiatry has undergone exponential growth since its inception. To date, much of the published work has focused on choice behaviors, which are primarily modeled within a reinforcement learning framework. While this initial normative effort represents a milestone in psychiatry research, the reality is that many psychiatric disorders are defined by disturbances in subjective states (e.g., depression, anxiety) and associated beliefs (e.g., dysmorphophobia, paranoid ideation), which are not considered in normative models. In this paper, we present interoceptive inference as a candidate framework for modeling subjective—and associated belief—states in computational psychiatry. We first introduce the notion and significance of modeling subjective states in computational psychiatry. Next, we present the interoceptive inference framework, and in particular focus on the relationship between interoceptive inference (i.e., belief updating) and emotions. Lastly, we will use drug craving as an example of subjective states to demonstrate the feasibility of using interoceptive inference to model the psychopathology of subjective states.

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Acknowledgments

XG is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (grant 1R01DA043695) and the Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC VISN 2) at the James J. Peter Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Bronx, NY. THBF is supported by a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant under the Horizon 2020 program (Grant Agreement 804701). KF is a Wellcome Principal Research Fellow (Ref: 088130/Z/09/Z).

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Correspondence to Xiaosi Gu.

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Gu, X., FitzGerald, T.H.B. & Friston, K.J. Modeling subjective belief states in computational psychiatry: interoceptive inference as a candidate framework. Psychopharmacology 236, 2405–2412 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-019-05300-5

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Keywords

  • Subjective beliefs states
  • Computational psychiatry
  • Interoceptive inference
  • Emotion
  • Craving