Bridging the Gap between the Lab and the Clinic: Psychopathology's Grand Challenge


Psychopathology is the scientific exploration of clinically significant disturbances in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior, which reflect a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning [American Psychiatric Association (APA), 2013]. The past two decades witnessed an accumulation of evidence for “psychopathological states as brain disorders,” which ignited new hopes that neuroscience will contribute to the advancement of clinical practices in psychopathology (Ekhtiari and Paulus, 2016). However, these hopes were met with a few hurdles that must be overcome because translating basic knowledge about the neural mechanisms behind several psychiatric conditions to a clinical application is not very simple. Some of the reasons for these encountered difficulties to “bridge the gap between lab and clinic” are numerous and can be divided into four categories: (1) the lack of direct connections between basic research and clinical conditions; (2) a tunnel vision that is too focused on the brain itself, which often ignores the contextual and historical (developmental) influences of the clinical condition under study; (3) the lack of consideration for individual differences in a given clinical population; and (4) the questionable validity of using a categorical mental disorder diagnosis. Therefore the “here and now” approach in psychopathology is not sufficient, and it should complement an approach that considers the disease process over time (Heckers, 2014).

DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01752

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Nol2016BridgingTG, title={Bridging the Gap between the Lab and the Clinic: Psychopathology's Grand Challenge}, author={Xavier No{\"{e}l and Antoine Bechara}, booktitle={Front. Psychol.}, year={2016} }