Computational psychiatry, a relatively new yet prolific field that aims to understand psychiatric disorders with formal theories about the brain, has seen tremendous growth in the past decade. Despite initial excitement, actual progress made by computational psychiatry seems stagnant. Meanwhile, understanding of the human brain has benefited tremendously from recent progress in intracranial neuroscience. Specifically, invasive techniques such as stereotactic electroencephalography, electrocorticography, and deep brain stimulation have provided a unique opportunity to precisely measure and causally modulate neurophysiological activity in the living human brain. In this review, we summarize progress and drawbacks in both computational psychiatry and invasive electrophysiology and propose that their combination presents a highly promising new direction—invasive computational psychiatry. The value of this approach is at least twofold. First, it advances our mechanistic understanding of the neural computations of mental states by providing a spatiotemporally precise depiction of neural activity that is traditionally unattainable using noninvasive techniques with human subjects. Second, it offers a direct and immediate way to modulate brain states through stimulation of algorithmically defined neural regions and circuits (i.e., algorithmic targeting), thus providing both causal and therapeutic insights. We then present depression as a use case where the combination of computational and invasive approaches has already shown initial success. We conclude by outlining future directions as a road map for this exciting new field as well as presenting cautions about issues such as ethical concerns and generalizability of findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-670
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2023


  • Algorithmic targeting
  • Computational psychiatry
  • DBS
  • ECoG
  • Intracranial neuroscience
  • sEEG


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