Implications of Information Theory for Computational Modeling of Schizophrenia



Silverstein SM, Wibral M & Phillips W (2017) Implications of Information Theory for Computational Modeling of Schizophrenia. Computational Psychiatry, 1, pp. 82-101.

Information theory provides a formal framework within which information processing and its disorders can be described. However, information theory has rarely been applied to modeling aspects of the cognitive neuroscience of schizophrenia. The goal of this article is to highlight the benefits of an approach based on information theory, including its recent extensions, for understanding several disrupted neural goal functions as well as related cognitive and symptomatic phenomena in schizophrenia. We begin by demonstrating that foundational concepts from information theory—such as Shannon information, entropy, data compression, block coding, and strategies to increase the signal-to-noise ratio—can be used to provide novel understandings of cognitive impairments in schizophrenia and metrics to evaluate their integrity. We then describe more recent developments in information theory, including the concepts of infomax, coherent infomax, and coding with synergy, to demonstrate how these can be used to develop computational models of schizophrenia-related failures in the tuning of sensory neurons, gain control, perceptual organization, thought organization, selective attention, context processing, predictive coding, and cognitive control. Throughout, we demonstrate how disordered mechanisms may explain both perceptual/cognitive changes and symptom emergence in schizophrenia. Finally, we demonstrate that there is consistency between some information-theoretic concepts and recent discoveries in neurobiology, especially involving the existence of distinct sites for the accumulation of driving input and contextual information prior to their interaction. This convergence can be used to guide future theory, experiment, and treatment development.

schizophrenia; psychosis; negative symptoms; information theory; perception; cognition; computational modeling; infomax; synergy; predictive coding; cognitive control

Computational Psychiatry: Volume 1

Publication date08/09/2017
Publication date online08/09/2017
Date accepted by journal11/04/2017
PublisherMIT Press

People (1)


Professor Bill Phillips
Professor Bill Phillips

Emeritus Professor, Psychology