From description to explanation: Integrating across multiple levels of analysis to inform neuroscientific accounts of dimensional personality pathology

Timothy A. Allen, Alison M. Schreiber, Nathan T. Hall, Michael N. Hallquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Dimensional approaches to psychiatric nosology are rapidly transforming the way researchers and clinicians conceptualize personality pathology, leading to a growing interest in describing how individuals differ from one another. Yet, in order to successfully prevent and treat personality pathology, it is also necessary to explain the sources of these individual differences. The emerging field of personality neuroscience is well-positioned to guide the transition from description to explanation within personality pathology research. However, establishing comprehensive, mechanistic accounts of personality pathology will require personality neuroscientists to move beyond atheoretical studies that link trait differences to neural correlates without considering the algorithmic processes that are carried out by those correlates. We highlight some of the dangers we see in overpopulating personality neuroscience with brain-trait associational studies and offer a series of recommendations for personality neuroscientists seeking to build explanatory theories of personality pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-676
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of personality disorders
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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