Advertisement

Why Do We Need Psychopathology? From the Brain’s Spontaneous Activity to “Spatiotemporal Psychopathology”

  • Georg Northoff
Chapter

Abstract

The resurgence of biological psychiatry raises the question how and why we need psychopathology. Psychopathology has been well developed in the time where the brain was not yet explored; it has brought forth psychological approaches like cognitive psychopathology and experiential approaches like phenomenological psychopathology. Both psychological and experiential approaches suffer from a divide to the brain though, the divide between the brain and cognition as well as the divide between the brain and experience. I here suggest a novel form of psychopathology that focuses on spatiotemporal rather than cognitive or experiential features, i.e., spatiotemporal psychopathology. Thereby the brain’s spontaneous activity plays a central role since it provides and shows various kinds of spatial and temporal features which, as I suppose, are organized cognition and are transformed into experience. I illustrate such spatiotemporal approach to psychopathological symptoms by the examples of depression and mania in bipolar disorder. I conclude that spatiotemporal psychopathology holds the promise to bridge the gap between the brain and symptoms including the divides between the brain and cognition/experience. Taken in this sense, spatiotemporal psychopathology will also be able to trace both psychological and experiential approaches to psychopathology to a commonly underlying basis, i.e., the spatiotemporal structure and features of the brain’s spontaneous activity. Accordingly, we need psychopathology and, more specifically, “spatiotemporal psychopathology” to understand both the brain’s neural activity and psychopathological symptoms and how the former translates into the latter. This, in turn, opens a new understanding of psychodynamic mechanisms like defense mechanisms that can then be considered as different and specific “spatiotemporal configurations” as engineered on the basis of the brain’ spontaneous activity and its spatiotemporal structure.

Keywords

Spatiotemporal psychopathology Spontaneous activity of the brain Phenomenology Schizophrenia Bipolar disorder 

References

  1. David AS, Halligan PW. Cognitive neuropsychiatry: potential for progress. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2000;12(4):506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Duncan NW, Hayes DJ, Wiebking C, Brice T, Pietruska K, Chen D, et al. Negative childhood experiences alter a prefrontal-insular-motor cortical network in healthy adults: a preliminary multimodal rsfMRI-fMRI-MRS-dMRI study. Hum Brain Mapp. 2015;36:4622–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Fuchs T. The temporal structure of intentionality and its disturbance in schizophrenia. Psychopathology. 2007;40(4):229–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fuchs T. Temporality and psychopathology. Phenomenol Cogn Sci. 2013;12(1):75–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Halligan PW, David AS. Cognitive neuropsychiatry: towards a scientific psychopathology. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2001;2(3):209–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Huang Z, Obara N, Davis HH IV, Pokorny J, Northoff G. The temporal structure of resting-state brain activity in the medial prefrontal cortex predicts self-consciousness. Neuropsychologia. 2016;82:161–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Northoff G, Stanghellini G. How to link brain and experience? Spatiotemporal psychopathology of the lived body. Front Hum Neurosci. 2016;10:172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Northoff G. Spatiotemporal psychopathology I: no rest for the brain’s resting state activity in depression? Spatiotemporal psychopathology of depressive symptoms. J Affect Disord. 2016a;190:854–66.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2015.05.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Northoff G. Spatiotemporal psychopathology II: how does a psychopathology of the brain’s resting state look like? Spatiotemporal approach and the history of psychopathology. J Affect Disord. 2016b;190:867–79.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2015.05.008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Panksepp J. Textbook of biological psychiatry. New York: Wiley; 2004.Google Scholar
  11. Parnas J, Sass LA, Zahavi D. Recent developments in philosophy of psychopathology. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2008;21(6):578–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Parnas J, Sass LA, Zahavi D. Rediscovering psychopathology: the epistemology and phenomenology of the psychiatric object. Schizophr Bull. 2013;39(2):270–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Stanghellini G. A hermeneutic framework for psychopathology. Psychopathology. 2009a;43(5):319–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Stanghellini G. The meanings of psychopathology. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2009b;22(6):559–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Stanghellini G, Broome MR. Psychopathology as the basic science of psychiatry. Br J Psychiatry. 2014;205(3):169–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mind, Brain Imaging, and Neuroethics, Institute of Mental Health ResearchUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations