Psychiatric illnesses like dementia are increasingly relevant for public health affairs. Neurobiology promises progress in diagnosis and treatment of these illnesses and exhibits a rapid increase of knowledge by new neurotechnologies. In order to find generic patterns in huge neurobiological data sets and by exploring formal brain models, non-linear science offers many examples of fruitful insights into the complex dynamics of neuronal information processing. However, it should be minded that neurobiology neither can bridge the explanatory gap between brain and mind nor can substitute psychological and psychiatric categories and knowledge. For instance, volition is impaired in many mental disorders. In experimental setups, a “preactional” brain potential was discovered that occurs 0.5 s before a consciously evoked motor action. Neglecting the specific experimental conditions, this finding was over-interpreted as the empirical falsification of the philosophical (!) concept of “free volition/will.” In contrast, the psychology of volition works with models that are composed of several stage-related hierarchically nested mental process cycles that were never tested in obviously “theory-free” neurobiology. As currently neurobiology shows a network turn (or systemic turn), this is one good reason to enhance systemic approaches in theoretical psychology, independently from neurobiology that still lacks “theory.” Cybernetic control loop models and system models should be integrated and elaborated and in turn could give new impulses to neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry that conceptually can more easily connect to a network-oriented neurobiology. In this program, the conceptual background of nonlinear science is essential to bridge gaps between neurobiology and psychiatry, defining a real “theoretical” field of neuropsychiatry.
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Research Article| October 24 2018
From mind to molecules and back to mind—Metatheoretical limits and options for systems neuropsychiatry
Special Collection: Nonlinear Science of Living Systems: From Cellular Mechanisms to Functions
Felix Tretter; From mind to molecules and back to mind—Metatheoretical limits and options for systems neuropsychiatry. Chaos 1 October 2018; 28 (10): 106325. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5040174
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