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Extraordinary Science and PsychiatryResponses to the Crisis in Mental Health Research$
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Jeffrey Poland and Serife Tekin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035484

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035484.001.0001

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Psychopathology without Nosology: The Research Domain Criteria Project as Normal Science

Psychopathology without Nosology: The Research Domain Criteria Project as Normal Science

Chapter:
(p.87) 5 Psychopathology without Nosology: The Research Domain Criteria Project as Normal Science
Source:
Extraordinary Science and Psychiatry
Author(s):

Claire Pouncey

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262035484.003.0005

Although the National Institute of Mental Health characterizes its Research Domain Criteria program as a “paradigm shift,” its change in emphasis from discrete mental disorders to psychophysiological constructs does not depart dramatically from prior research strategies. The RDoC program supports psychopathology research that utilizes newer, biologically-based investigational methods; avoids pre-existing conceptions of mental disorders; and provides insight into the full range of psychological functioning, from normal to pathological. However, it maintains the methodological rules of the existing psychopathological paradigm. This chapter traces the conceptual history of construct validity to show its consistency across disorder-based and construct-based approaches to the study of psychopathology. Because the RDoC research program is grounded in construct validity and aims to develop existing theory, it does not constitute a paradigm shift in the Kuhnian sense, but simply rejects mental disorders as scientifically legitimate constructs.

Keywords:   Research domain criteria, psychiatric nosology, psychopathology, construct validity, Thomas Kuhn, Carl Hempel, Paul Meehl, paradigm shift, normal science, classification

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