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Mechanisms of psychopathology

The group aims to expand our understanding of mechanisms underlying the significant symptom variation seen in psychotic disorders over time and between individuals.

About the group

Revealing vulnerability factors and drivers of symptom change is important for better and more personalized treatment in schizophrenia and bipolar spectrum disorders. The group will mainly focus on affective dysregulation, substance use and sleep using digital tools (smartphone application, actigraphy) designed to capture a fine-grained picture of several dimensions of symptoms and behaviour in parallel. In collaboration with other groups in the centre, these data will be combined with data from cognitive, brain imaging, genetic, biochemical and traditional clinical assessments.


The research group aims to contribute to a better understanding of mechanisms underlying the symptom variation seen in psychotic disorders over time and between individuals. Core phenomena to be investigated are emotional dysregulation, substance use, sleep irregularities, activity patterns and illness insight. The aim is to map temporal relationships between these phenomena and core affective and psychotic symptoms, in order to delineate whether they are drivers or consequences of the core symptoms. Another important aim is to identify early signs of relapse. The group will have a transdiagnostic focus, and the «deep phenotyping» approach will provide new opportunities for identifying subgroups, illness profiles and biomarkers. 


Methods development

  • MinDag – a smartphone application for self-monitoring of affective and psychotic symptoms, sleep, substance use, emotional reactivity and daily functioning. PI: Trine Vik Lagerberg

Clinical collaboration/platform 

  • The research group is together with Nydalen District Psychiatric Centre currently planning the estalishment of a specialized clinical unit for bipolar disorder with research integration. The research focus will primarily be on naturalistic longitudinal studies (with the use of digital tools for illness monitoring), and secondarily on testing new psychosocial and pharmacological interventions. PI: Trine Vik Lagerberg

Research projects

  • Cannabis and nicotine use in bipolar disorder and their relationship to clinical characteristics, cognitive functioning and polygenic risk. In this research project, Trine Vik Lagerberg and collaborators investigate the specific relationships between different substances of abuse and illness severity including affective lability and repeated suicide attempts in bipolar disorder, focusing on cannabis and nicotine use. They also investigate the relationship between use of these substances, cognitive functioning and polygenic risk in context of the hypothesis that substance use may elicit psychotic disorders in genetically vulnerable individuals.
  • Affective lability in bipolar disorder and its genetic, cognitive and clinical underpinnings. In this post doc project, Sofie Aminoff investigates the relationship between polygenic risk scores and affective lability, and the distribution of polygenic risk across different bipolar disorder subgroups. As part of the project, Aminoff is also conducting a meta-analysis of the prevalence of psychotic symptoms in bipolar I and II disorders.
  • Illness insight and suicidality in bipolar disorder. In this PhD project, Camilla Bakkalia Büchmann investigates the psychometric properties of the Birchwood Insight Scale in schizophrenia spectrum and bipolar disorders. She also investigates the relationship between illness history and insight in bipolar disorder and the development of insight over the first year of treatment in bipolar disorder. 
  • Affects with effects - the role of affective dysregulation in psychotic disorders. In this PhD project, Margrethe Collier Høegh will investigate the prevalence and profile of affective lability as well as the variability of emotional reactivity in psychotic disorders, and explore the relationship between changes in emotional reactivity and affective and psychotic symptoms and episodes.
  • The temporal relationship between substance use and clinical characteristics in bipolar disorder. PI: Trine Vik Lagerberg (PhD candidate not yet hired).
  • The temporal relationship between sleep disturbances and clinical characteristics in psychotic disorders. PI: Elisabeth Ann Barrett (PhD candidate not yet hired).


  • Prof. Frank Bellivier, Prof. Chantal Henry, Prof. Bruno Etain, PhD Romain Icick. Affiliated with the following institutions in France: INSERM U955, Université Paris-Est, Créteil, INSERM 1144, Paris Diderot Univeristy, Fondation FondaMental, Créteil, Institut Pasteur, Paris.
  • Prof. Gunnar Morken and PhD Mette Kvisten Steinan. Both at NTNU and St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim, Norway.

Selected publications

The group was established in July 2018. The publications listed below are selected previous publications from the group members

  1. Aminoff SR, Tesli M, Bettella F, Aas M, Lagerberg TV, Djurovic S, Andreassen OA, Melle I. Polygenic risk scores in bipolar disorder subgroups. J Affect Disord. 2015;183:310-314. 
  2. Lagerberg TV, Icick R, Andreassen OA, Ringen PA, Etain B, Aas M, Henry C, Bjella TD, Melle I, Bellivier F. Cannabis use disorder is associated with greater illness severity in tobacco smoking patients with bipolar disorder. J Affect Disord. 2015;190:286-293. 
  3. Lagerberg TV, Aminoff SR, Aas M, Bjella T, Henry C, Leboyer M, Pedersen G, Bellivier F, Icick R, Andreassen OA, Etain B, Melle I. Alcohol use disorders are associated with increased affective lability in bipolar disorder. J Affect Disord. 2016;208:316-324. 
Published Nov. 13, 2018 8:48 AM - Last modified Nov. 16, 2022 9:01 AM