Neurocognitive Artificial Neural Network Models Are Superior to Linear Models at Accounting for Dimensional Psychopathology

Darren Haywood, Frank D. Baughman, Barbara A. Mullan, Karen R. Heslop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, there has been debate about the optimal conceptualisation of psychopathology. Structural models of psychopathology have been developed to counter issues, including comorbidity and poor diagnostic stability prevalent within the traditional nosological approach. Regardless of the conceptualisation of psychological dysfunction, deficits in neurocognitive abilities have been claimed to be an aetiological feature of psychopathology. Explorations of the association between neurocognition and psychopathology have typically taken a linear approach, overlooking the potential interactive dynamics of neurocognitive abilities. Previously, we proposed a multidimensional hypothesis, where within-person interactions between neurocognitive domains are fundamental to understanding the role of neurocognition within psychopathology. In this study, we used previously collected psychopathology data for 400 participants on psychopathological symptoms, substance use, and performance on eight neurocognitive tasks and compared the predictive accuracy of linear models to artificial neural network models. The artificial neural network models were significantly more accurate than the traditional linear models at predicting actual (a) lower-level and (b) high-level dimensional psychopathology. These results provide support for the multidimensional hypothesis: that the study of non-linear interactions and compensatory neurocognitive profiles are integral to understanding the functional associations between neurocognition and of psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1060
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • artificial neural network
  • CFA
  • dimensional
  • externalising
  • internalising
  • mental health
  • modelling
  • neurocognition
  • p-factor
  • psychopathology

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