Request for Information (RFI): Building a Set of Recommended Tasks and Measures for the RDoC Matrix

Notice Number: NOT-MH-16-007

Key Dates
Release Date: March 25, 2016
Response Date:  April 22, 2016

Related Announcements
None    

Issued by
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Purpose

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is interested in developing a well-specified list of tasks, paradigms, and measures (“tests” for short) for investigators to consider using to measure the constructs of the RDoC matrix (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/research-priorities/rdoc/constructs/rdoc-matrix.shtml).  As a part of this effort the NIMH seeks input about existing tests with known construct validity, and also general suggestions on the most important criteria to consider when selecting candidate tests.

Background

The NIMH has initiated the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework as a “new way of classifying mental disorders based on dimensions of observable behavior and neurobiological measures”. The RDoC framework is organized as a matrix, which includes five domains with associated dimensional constructs that represent validated behavioral functions supported by a neural circuit or system. These constructs provide a framework to study functions and deficits across a spectrum of psychopathology and across the health-illness dimension. The initial development of the RDoC matrix was the collaborative effort of leading scientists across multiple workshops to articulate and define the knowledge for each of the five domains (those workshops are highlighted here: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/research-priorities/rdoc/development-of-the-rdoc-framework.shtml). The RDoC matrix does include a list of tests and assessment tools that were recommended by the members of the workgroups who initially defined the constructs, but this list needs refining and curating so that RDoC studies can move toward a set of common data elements.

The National Advisory Mental Health Council will convene a Council Workgroup charged with the task of recommending a list of valid and reliable tests for potential use for each construct. In support of this effort, the RDoC unit seeks input and recommendations of tests with: (1) good construct validity as a measure of a specific RDoC construct; (2) robust psychometrics; and (3) suitability for use across diverse participants.  The goal is to identify tests that can serve as recommended common data elements to facilitate data sharing in the RDoC database.  Additionally, the NIMH seeks suggestions about the criteria that should be considered when selecting candidate tests.

Information Requested

 

This RFI seeks input from stakeholders from the scientific research community and the general public.  The NIMH seeks comments on any or all of, but not limited to, the following topics: 

1.) Suggested Candidate Test

  • Name and description of the test
  • The specific RDoC construct for which the suggested test best measures
  • Evidence for construct validity in terms of the mechanism the test is thought to assess
  • Evidence for reliability, of any form, including internal consistency, test-retest reliability, etc.
  • Evidence for other relevant psychometric characteristics about the test, including practice effects, floor or ceiling effects, etc.
  • Descriptions of any known animal homologues for this test
  • Evidence of task improvement with psychological or pharmacological treatment
  • In all cases, pertinent references to published papers are helpful.
  • Additional helpful information may include your area of expertise, your primary work setting, and your personal familiarity with the suggested test.

2.) Suggested criteria for test selection.  Information is particularly sought on, but not limited to, suggestions for the most important test characteristics that should be considered to determine if a candidate test measure is a suitable option. Example suggestions are:

  • Readily measured in humans
  • Clarity of the link to a specific neural system
  • Availability of an explicit animal model
  • Suitable for use in behavioral and/or human imaging studies
  • Evidence for impairment or improvement in certain populations

Responses

All responses must be submitted electronically by April 22, 2016, in the form of an email to RDoCtasks@mail.nih.gov, using the subject 'RDoC Tasks and Measures”.

Responses to this RFI Notice are voluntary. Submitted information will not be considered confidential. Responses are welcome from associations and professional organizations as well as individual stakeholders. This request is for information and planning purposes and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation of the Federal Government or NIMH. No awards will be made based on responses to this RFI. The information submitted will be analyzed and may be used for planning purposes. You will receive an electronic confirmation acknowledging receipt of your response, but will not receive individualized feedback on your submission. No proprietary, classified, confidential and/or sensitive information should be included in your response. The NIH and the government reserve the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any future solicitation(s).

We look forward to your input and hope that you will share this RFI document with your colleagues.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Jenni Pacheco, Ph.D.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Email: RDoCtasks@mail.nih.gov