Research that combines genetic and cognitive neuroscience data aims to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie human behaviour and experience by way of 'intermediate phenotypes': variations in brain function. Using neuroimaging and other methods, this approach is poised to make the transition from health-focused investigations to inquiries into cognitive, affective and social functions, including ones that do not readily lend themselves to animal models. The growing pains of this emerging field are evident, yet there are also reasons for a measured optimism.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors wish to thank M. I. Posner, whose consultation contributed greatly to the conceptual direction and writing of the manuscript, and A. Gold, C. Juhasz and B. Stinson for thoughtful commentary on earlier versions of the manuscript. J.F. is presently funded by a K01 award sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health. J.R.G. was funded by the National Science Foundation under awards REC-0634025 and DRL-0644131.