Psychology and neuroscience: How close are we to an integrative perspective? Reply to Staats (2016) and Tryon (2016)

Seth J Schwartz, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Alan Meca, Katheryn C. Sauvigné

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter


This article responds to commentaries written by Warren Tryon (2016) and Arthur Staats (2016) concerning Schwartz, Lilienfeld, Meca, and Sauvigné (2016). In this reply, we reiterate our key thesis-that psychology, and the problems it addresses, are likely best approached from multiple levels of analysis. Unlike Tryon, we are not convinced that neural networks and computational neuroscience provide a single template through which all of psychology can be integrated. We are in agreement with Staats that attempts to reduce psychological phenomena to neural events alone are likely to be misleading and unproductive. One important example where such reductionism has been alive and well is addiction, where prominent biomedical models have defined addiction as a "brain disease." Our reply article concludes by arguing that a multilevel approach to psychology is essential in guiding hiring practices, funding agency priorities, and training students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)898-899
Number of pages2
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Multilevel
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology
  • Reductionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this