Emotional endophenotypes in evolutionary psychiatry

Evolutionary psychiatry emerged from the conceptual successes of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. It will need to avoid the many mistakes that biology-free Evolutionary Psychology has been prey to. It should not ignore the wealth of information that exists between the phenotypic expression of symptoms and the genotypic sources of core brain/mind processes that are disrupted in psychiatric disorders. Syndromal-conceptual thinking has become a barrier to illuminating the biological sources of psychiatric disorders. Endophenoytpic-biomarker approaches now offer robust alternatives for generating linkages between psychiatrically relevant psychological changes and the neurobiological infrastructure of disordered mentation. Here I summarize recent advances in endophenotypic thinking in biological psychiatry, and suggest that various core emotional-affective processes may be among the most important endophenotypes that need to be clarified at both neurobiological and genetic levels of analysis. To this end, I discuss strategies to link basic emotional processes that are commonly imbalanced in psychiatric disorders to neuroanatomical, neurochemical, neurophysiology, and molecular genetic levels of analysis. Conjoint animal behavioral-genetic and gene expression, microarray analyses can clarify a variety of key emotional endophenotypes and thereby provide a coherent infrastructure for psychiatric systematics. To further clarify the neurobiological dimensions of psychiatric disorders, we must also focus on psychosocial and environmental stress vectors that converge to create imbalanced emotional and motivational brain activities of psychiatric significance. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Evolutionary psychiatry emerged from the conceptual successes of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. It will need to avoid the many mistakes that biology-free Evolutionary Psychology has been prey to. It should not ignore the wealth of information that exists between the phenotypic expression of symptoms and the genotypic sources of core brain/mind processes that are disrupted in psychiatric disorders. Syndromal-conceptual thinking has become a barrier to illuminating the biological sources of psychiatric disorders. Endophenoytpic-biomarker approaches now offer robust alternatives for generating linkages between psychiatrically relevant psychological changes and the neurobiological infrastructure of disordered mentation. Here I summarize recent advances in endophenotypic thinking in biological psychiatry, and suggest that various core emotional-affective processes may be among the most important endophenotypes that need to be clarified at both neurobiological and genetic levels of analysis. To this end, I discuss strategies to link basic emotional processes that are commonly imbalanced in psychiatric disorders to neuroanatomical, neurochemical, neurophysiology, and molecular genetic levels of analysis. Conjoint animal behavioral-genetic and gene expression, microarray analyses can clarify a variety of key emotional endophenotypes and thereby provide a coherent infrastructure for psychiatric systematics. To further clarify the neurobiological dimensions of psychiatric disorders, we must also focus on psychosocial and environmental stress vectors that converge to create imbalanced emotional and motivational brain activities of psychiatric significance. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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