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May 16, 1986

Artificial Intelligence and Psychiatry

Author Affiliations

San Diego


by D. J. Hand (The Scientific Basis of Psychiatry, M. Shepherd, ed), 266 pp, with illus, $39.50, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1985.

JAMA. 1986;255(19):2679. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370190163046

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The author states his intention to present an overview of the area of artificial intelligence as it relates to psychiatry, giving the practicing psychiatrist without computer experience insight into a field of ever increasing relevance to psychological understanding. He succeeds only partially, as his attempts to provide a rigorous presentation will cause many members of his intended audience to lay aside a book that provides an elegant presentation of a wide range of topics relating to the description and representation (in artificial intelligence terms) of the complexities of human logic and language, with particular reference to psychopathologic states.

After defining artificial intelligence, he attempts to describe the fallacies of modeling approaches to problem solving. He correctly states that it is not necessary that the computer solve problems in the same manner as the human clinician. He may lose the computer novice in his brief references to serial versus parallel processing,