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Table 1 Distinction between types of tests and models, with a focus on their purpose and epistemic work

From: Behavioral models in psychopathology: epistemic and semantic considerations

Category Type Purpose Epistemic work
Tests Screening tests Allows limited comprehension of an isolated aspect of a complex biological mechanism to be mapped
Limited predictive usefulness (e.g., predicting desired drug activity)
Low fidelity (underlying mechanism does not need to be similar)
Low discriminating ability (not necessarily sensitive to, e.g., triggering factors)
Not necessarily hypothesis-driven
Low construct validity; moderate predictive validity (pharmacological isomorphism only)
Biobehavioral assays Allows broader comprehension of a mechanism, without necessary causal analogy
Moderate predictive usefulness [e.g., studying neural bases of behavioral (dys)functions]
Low fidelity (mechanism similar, but not causally analogous)
High discriminating ability (sensitive to disturbances by definition)
High predictive validity, at best moderate construct validity
Models Simulations Can allow inferences and extrapolation to the human disorder, with high probability that the hypothesis thus generated is true High fidelity (similar mechanisms with probable causal analogy)
High discriminating ability (sensitive to disturbances by definition)
High face, predictive, and construct validity (considers the need to address theoretical constructs on the etiology, symptomatology, and treatment)