The emerging biology of delusions

Psychol Med. 2011 Jan;41(1):7-13. doi: 10.1017/S0033291710000413. Epub 2010 Mar 29.


This article examines a model of how delusions may arise, not just in schizophrenia but also in a number of neurological and psychiatric conditions, through a combination of dysregulated dopamine release from ascending midbrain pathways and reasoning bias. Negative symptoms may also be related to dopamine dysregulation, with the precise mixture of positive and negative symptoms depending on the relative degree of dopamine dysregulation in particular mesocorticolimbic circuits. Evidence for this model is examined, and predictions arising from this model are described.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Delusions / etiology*
  • Delusions / physiopathology
  • Dopamine / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Psychotic Disorders / etiology
  • Psychotic Disorders / physiopathology
  • Receptors, Dopamine / physiology


  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Dopamine