What do students need to know about the biology of schizophrenia? – dopamine hypothesis and neural correlates

Revised textbook pages

There does seem to be some confusion over what students need to know about the biology of schizophrenia and whether the ‘dopamine hypothesis’ and ‘neural correlates’ are separate topics. AQA have decided that they are and should be taught separately. We have now amended the text for the one relevant spread in the Complete Companion (Dog book) to include neural correlates as a distinct topic over and above the dopamine hypothesis. The distinction may well be somewhat artificial given that the two versions of the dopamine hypothesis (original and revised) explain the different influence of dopamine in the mesolimbic and mesocortical pathways, which highlights the role of these different areas of the brain.

The new material on ‘neural correlates’ looks at impairment of executive function in the prefrontal cortex, the role of the hippocampus in schizophrenia, grey matter deficits and white matter abnormalities, particularly in the pathways between the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. This material has been incorporated into the Year 2 Complete Companion book and so will appear in the next imprint of this book. In the meantime we have made the new spread available so it can be used for teaching. We have also updated the schizophrenia summary pages to take account of these changes.