Why use predictive processing to explain psychopathology? The case of anorexia nervosa

Steve Gadsby, Jakob Hohwy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Predictive processing accounts are increasingly called upon to explain mental disorder. They seem to provide an attractive explanatory framework because the core idea of prediction error minimization can be applied to simultaneously account for several perceptual, attentional and reasoning deficits often implicated in mental disorder. However, it can be unclear how much is gained by such accounts: the proffered explanations can appear to have several weaknesses such as being too liberal, too shallow, or too wedded to formal notions of statistical learning. Here, we taxonomise the relatively unrecognised variety of explanatory tools under the framework and discuss how they can be employed to provide substantial explanations. We then apply the framework to anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder that is characterised by a complex set of perceptual, reasoning and decision-making problems. We conclude that the predictive processing framework is a valuable type of explanation for psychopathology
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Philosophy and Science of Predictive Processing
EditorsDina Mendonca, Manuel Curado, Steven Gouveia
Place of PublicationLondon UK
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781350099777, 9781350099760
ISBN (Print)9781350099753, 9781350197299
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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