The brain's spontaneous activity and its psychopathological symptoms – “Spatiotemporal binding and integration”
Neuroimaging provided much insight into the neural activity of the brain and its alterations in psychiatric disorders. However, despite extensive research, the exact neuronal mechanisms leading to the various psychopathological symptoms remain unclear, yet. In addition to task-evoked activity during affective, cognitive, or other challenges, the brain's spontaneous or resting state activity has come increasingly into the focus. Basically all psychiatric disorders show abnormal resting state activity with the relation to psychopathological symptoms remaining unclear though. I here suggest to conceive the brain's spontaneous activity in spatiotemporal terms that is, by various mechanisms that are based on its spatial, i.e., functional connectivity, and temporal, i.e., fluctuations in different frequencies, features. I here point out two such spatiotemporal mechanisms, i.e., “spatiotemporal binding and integration”. Alterations in the resting state's spatial and temporal features lead to abnormal “spatiotemporal binding and integration” which results in abnormal contents in cognition as in the various psychopathological symptoms. This, together with concrete empirical evidence, is demonstrated in depression and schizophrenia. I therefore conclude that we need to develop a spatiotemporal approach to psychopathology, “spatiotemporal psychopathology:” as I call it.