Not understanding others. The RdoC approach to Theory of mind and empathy deficits in Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder and Mood Disorders

Phenomenology and Mind 2:162-181 (2020)
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Abstract

The Research Domani Criteria framework (RdoC) encourages research on specific impairments present across traditional nosological categories and suggests a list of biological and behavioral measures for assessing them. After a description of RdoC, in this article we focus on impairments of the ability of understanding others, specifically in Theory of Mind and empathy. We illustrate recent evidence on brain anomalies correlating with these deficits in Schizophrenia, Addiction Disorders and Mood Disorders populations. In the last section, we zoom out and consider this kind of research vis-à-vis the objection of being reductionistic that is, in favoring mechanistic accounts of mental disorders. We argue that metaphysical reductionism and explanatory reductionism are not conceptually entailed by the RdoC framework.

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Elisabetta Lalumera
University of Bologna

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