Precision behavioral phenotyping as a strategy for uncovering the biological correlates of psychopathology

Jeg Tiego, Elizabeth A. Martin, Colin, G. DeYoung, Kelsey Hagan, Samuel E. Cooper, Rita Pasion, Liam Satchell, Alexander J. Shackman, Mark A. Bellgrove, Alex Fornito, the HiTOP Neurobiological Foundations Work Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Our capacity to measure diverse aspects of human biology has developed rapidly in the past decades, but the rate at which these techniques have generated insights into the biological correlates of psychopathology has lagged far behind. The slow progress is partly due to the poor sensitivity, specificity and replicability of many findings in the literature, which have in turn been attributed to small effect sizes, small sample sizes and inadequate statistical power. A commonly proposed solution is to focus on large, consortia-sized samples. Yet it is abundantly clear that increasing sample sizes will have a limited impact unless a more fundamental issue is addressed: the precision with which target behavioral phenotypes are measured. Here, we discuss challenges, outline several ways forward and provide worked examples to demonstrate key problems and potential solutions. A precision phenotyping approach can enhance the discovery and replicability of associations between biology and psychopathology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304–315
Number of pages12
JournalNature Mental Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

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