Underlying delusion: predictive processing, looping effects, and the personal/sub-personal distinction

Matteo Colombo, Regina E. Fabry*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


What is the relationship between the concepts of the predictive processing theory of brain functioning and the everyday concepts with which people conduct and explain their mental lives? To answer this question, we focus on predictive processing explanations of mental disorder that appeal to false inference. After distinguishing two concepts of false inference, we survey four ways of understanding the relationship between explanations of mental phenomena at the personal and sub-personal level. We then argue that if predictive processing accurately accounts for psychological and socio-cultural dynamics, then personal and sub-personal concepts must display a looping relationship that can impact the nature of at least some mental phenomena. In particular, explaining the phenomenon of delusion in terms of the sub-personal concept of false inference should change the nature of delusional experiences themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-855
Number of pages27
JournalPhilosophical Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • delusion
  • predictive processing
  • mental disorder
  • personal/sub-personal level explanations
  • false inference
  • human kinds


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