Computationally Informed Interventions for Targeting Compulsive Behaviors

Thorsten Kahnt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Compulsive behaviors are central to addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder and can be understood as a failure of adaptive decision making. Particularly, they can be conceptualized as an imbalance in behavioral control, such that behavior is guided predominantly by learned rather than inferred outcome expectations. Inference is a computational process required for adaptive behavior, and recent work across species has identified the neural circuitry that supports inference-based decision making. This includes the orbitofrontal cortex, which has long been implicated in disorders of compulsive behavior. Inspired by evidence that modulating orbitofrontal cortex activity can alter inference-based behaviors, here we discuss noninvasive approaches to target these circuits in humans. Specifically, we discuss the potential of network-targeted transcranial magnetic stimulation and real-time neurofeedback to modulate the neural underpinnings of inference. Both interventions leverage recent advances in our understanding of the neurocomputational mechanisms of inference-based behavior and may be used to complement current treatment approaches for behavioral disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-738
Number of pages10
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2023


  • Compulsive behavior
  • Inference-based decision making
  • Model-based
  • Model-free
  • Neurofeedback
  • Reinforcement leaning
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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