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Philipp Sterzer, Universitäre Psychiatrische Kliniken Basel

Dec 12, 2022 | 04:00 PM

Tittle: A predictive-processing account of psychosis


There has been increasing interest in the neurocomputational mechanisms underlying psychotic disorders in recent years. One promising approach is based on the theoretical framework of predictive processing, which proposes that inferences regarding the state of the world are made by combining prior beliefs with sensory signals. Delusions and hallucinations are the core symptoms of psychosis and often co-occur. Yet, different predictive-processing alterations have been proposed for these two symptom dimensions, according to which the relative weighting of prior beliefs in perceptual inference is decreased or increased, respectively. I will present recent behavioural, neuroimaging, and computational work that investigated perceptual decision-making under uncertainty and ambiguity to elucidate the changes in predictive processing that may give rise to psychotic experiences. Based on the empirical findings presented, I will provide a more nuanced predictive-processing account that suggests a common mechanism for delusions and hallucinations at low levels of the predictive-processing hierarchy, but still has the potential to reconcile apparently contradictory findings in the literature. This account may help to understand the heterogeneity of psychotic phenomenology and explain changes in symptomatology over time.