The NIMH Research Domain Criteria (RDoC): Introduction of Research Framework for Investigating Mental Disorders

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department Of Psychology, Faculty Of Education And Psychology, Ferdowsi University Of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Department of psychology,Faculty of Education and Psychology,Ferdowsi university of Mashhad,Mashhad,Iran


Introduction: The National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project was developed in response to deficiencies in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD) mental disorder classification systems. Since this project is a new diagnostic system, not much research has been done on it and the related literature is still being developed. The purpose of this review article is first to describe a brief history of the classification of mental disorders and then to discuss how the RDoC is formed and introducing the RDoC matrix and unit of analysis.
Method: In a review, after searching for specialized research keywords in internal and external studies, data were collected.
Results: The data analysis of this study shows that the Research Criteria Project provides a framework for facilitating integrated research to elucidate the main mechanisms of human mental disorders Based on the individualized psychiatry and transdiagnostic, Neuro-bio-behavioral approach. The current framework of RDoC is made of a matrix in which the rows represent specific functional constructs and the concepts actually summarize the data related to a functional domain of behavior. In the current plan, there are six fields in the matrix of the RDoC: negative valence systems, positive valence systems, cognitive systems, systems for social processes, arousal and regulatory systems and sensory-motor systems. The columns of the matrix show the units of analysis used in the study of the constructs and consist of genes, molecules, cells, circuits, physiology, behavior and self-reports. This matrix also has a separate column that determines the valid paradigms that were used in the study of each construct.
Conclusion: The paper highlights key implications for ways in which RDoC can contribute to future ideas about classification, personalized intervention for heterogeneous disorders and preventive/early interventions targeting emergent or subthreshold psychopathology. As well as some of the considerations involved in translating basic behavioral and neuroscience data to psychopathology.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 15 July 2023
  • Receive Date: 20 August 2022
  • Revise Date: 29 January 2023
  • Accept Date: 15 July 2023