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Research Domain Criteria (RDoC)

Strategy 1.4 of the NIMH Strategic Plan calls for the development, for research purposes, of new ways of classifying psychopathology based on dimensions of observable behavior and neurobiological measures. The Research Domain Criteria project (RDoC) has been launched by NIMH to implement this strategy. In brief, the effort is to define basic dimensions of functioning (such as fear circuitry or working memory) to be studied across multiple units of analysis, from genes to neural circuits to behaviors, cutting across disorders as traditionally defined. The intent is to translate rapid progress in basic neurobiological and behavioral research to an improved integrative understanding of psychopathology and the development of new and/or optimally matched treatments for mental disorders.

NIMH established an internal working group in the Spring of 2009 to implement a structure and process for achieving this goal. The various domains of functioning, and their constituent elements, are being defined by an ongoing series of consensus workshops; input from the research community and other interested stakeholders is encouraged. A number of articles/editorials have been published describing and commenting on the project (see links below). NIMH anticipates that research grants employing this new experimental classification will represent an increasingly large share of its funding portfolio in coming years.

As this project develops, the RDoC web pages will be used to post all information relevant to RDoC including official notices, dates and locations for meetings, and summaries of products and progress.

The RDoC process is intended to be open and transparent to the community, and comments about the proceedings of the workshops, as well as about the overall RDoC project, are welcome; send comments to These pages will serve as the repository for official information relevant to RDoC to keep those interested abreast of the most recent developments.

Additional Information:

Proceedings of RDoC Workshops:

  • Working Memory Workshop Proceedings, July 2010 (HTML | PDF)
  • Negative Valence Systems Workshop Proceedings, March 2011 (HTML | PDF)
  • Positive Valence Systems Workshop Proceedings, June 2011 (HTML | PDF)
  • Cognitive Systems Workshop Proceedings, October 2011 (HTML / PDF)
  • Systems for Social Processes Workshop Proceedings, February 2012 (HTML / PDF)
  • Arousal/Regulatory Systems Workshop Proceedings, June 2012 (HTML /PDF)

These documents are intended only as summaries of the workshops’ proceedings, and not as definitive scientific reviews of the many issues involved.

NIMH RDoC Publications

RDoC in the News

Read more about the NIMH Strategic Plan