The fields of cognitive, affective, and behavioral neuroscience have been with us for many years now, and have served to spawn an ever growing body of research that has helped to clarify the mechanisms by which the brain gives rise to the diverse processes that govern our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. These fields of research have grown exponentially as more and more tools have become available for invasive and noninvasive measures of brain function in both humans and animals, and as information about the human and animal genomes has increased. These advances in neurosciencebased tools have clearly advanced our knowledge and understanding of brain—behavior relationships. However, there is also a danger that lurks in the shadows of these methodological and empirical advances. This danger is that the enticement of understanding neural processes sometimes leads us to forget about the exact phenomena that we ultimately wish to understand and explain—namely, cognitive, affective, and behavioral processes. What do I mean by danger? I mean the concern that we often seem to prioritize the sophistication of our neural and genetic tools and theorizing over our psychological tools and theorizing, and that we may overlook the absence of linkage between neural (e.g., imaging results at a range of levels) or genetic findings and well—grounded psychological theories about specific cognitive, affective, or behavioral mechanisms. In other words, we can be seduced by the “call of the brain mechanism,” without a reminder of the phenomena we wish to explain.
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Barch, D.M. Keeping the “cognitive” in cognitive neuroscience, the “affective” in affective neuroscience, and the “behavioral” in behavioral neuroscience: The CABN mission for the next five years. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience 8, 1–2 (2008). https://doi.org/10.3758/CABN.8.1.1