The rise of neuroscience in our field has raised legitimate questions about the relative value of brain versus behavioral data to inform our understanding of the etiology and treatment of childhood mental disorders. There is no doubt that data on brain function and structure have wielded unique power and influence in mental health research during the past two decades. This could be based in part on its inherent objective and quantitative features in a field that has searched for, and thus far has generally failed to find, clearly measurable markers of psychopathology for clinical use. However, it also could be based on a reductionist philosophy that posits that the brain is the source and driver of all human emotions and behavior and therefore should be of central importance. Contrasting this view, recent neuroscience perspectives have emphasized that detailed studies of behavior are essential to inform neuroscience.1 Although the brain basis of behavior is clear, this reductionist approach also fails to take into account the more reciprocal nature of brain-behavior relations in which emotions, behavior, and life experience also can influence and change the brain.2,3

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-371
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


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