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Updating biological bases of social behavior

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This month's collation of papers deals with social behaviors that operationalize key constructs in fields covered by the journal, including attachment theory and parenting; emotional regulation; psychopathology of several forms; general and specific cognitive abilities. Notably, many examples are offered of how these social behaviors link with biology. That is an obvious and important direction for clinical research insofar as it helps to erase a perceptual chasm and artificial duality between ‘behavior’ and ‘biology’. But, although it must be the case that social behavior has biological connections of one sort or other, identifying reliable connections with practical application has proved to be a non‐trivial challenge. In particular, the challenge seems to be in measuring social behavior meaningfully enough that it could be expected to have a biological pulse, and in measuring biological markers systematically enough that emergent‐downstream effects would surface. Associations are not especially uncommon, but it has been a frustrating task in constructing a practically broad model from a bricolage of scattered and disconnected parts and findings in the literature. Several reports in this issue offer contrasts that may help move along this line of study.
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Keywords: Social behaviours; biological mechanisms; cognitive development; mental phenomena

Document Type: Editorial

Publication date: September 1, 2014

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