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October 3, 2017

Digital Phenotyping: Technology for a New Science of Behavior

Author Affiliations
  • 1Mindstrong Health, Palo Alto, California
JAMA. 2017;318(13):1215-1216. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11295

Traditionally, psychiatry has offered clinical insights through keen behavioral observation and a deep study of emotion. With the subsequent biological revolution in psychiatry displacing psychoanalysis, some psychiatrists were concerned that the field shifted from “brainless” to “mindless.”1 Over the past 4 decades, behavioral expertise, once the strength of psychiatry, has diminished in importance as psychiatric research focused on pharmacology, genomics, and neuroscience, and much of psychiatric practice has become a series of brief clinical interactions focused on medication management. In research settings, assigning a diagnosis from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has become a surrogate for behavioral observation. In practice, few clinicians measure emotion, cognition, or behavior with any standard, validated tools.

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