The neurobiology of individual differences in complex behavioral traits.
Neuroimaging, especially BOLD fMRI, has begun to identify how variability in brain function contributes to individual differences in complex behavioral traits. In parallel, pharmacological fMRI and multimodal PET/fMRI are identifying how variability in molecular signaling pathways influences individual differences in brain function. Against this background, functional genetic polymorphisms are being utilized to understand the origins of variability in signaling pathways as well as to model efficiently how such emergent variability impacts behaviorally relevant brain function. This article provides an overview of a research strategy seeking to integrate these complementary technologies and utilizes existing empirical data to illustrate its effectiveness in illuminating the neurobiology of individual differences in complex behavioral traits. The article also discusses how such efforts can contribute to the identification of predictive markers that interact with environmental factors to precipitate disease and to develop more effective and individually tailored treatment regimes.
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