PNP Colloquium, Natalia Washington

"Culturally Unbound: Psychopathology, Diversity, and Human Nature"

Abstract: In this paper, I consider how human psychological variation should affect methodology in psychiatric research by examining its implications for a discipline which tries to separate the descriptive from the evaluative in taxonomization of mental disorders. I argue that the science of psychopathology is hindered by its reliance on a conception of ‘normal human nature’, and thus does not adequately accommodate cognitive diversity. I then consider one promising way to move forward by examining Grant Ramsey’s recent work on human nature and his Life-history Trait Cluster (LTC) view. I end with some notes on how these considerations are beginning to shape inquiry in the form of the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project.