Editorial: Capturing the dynamics of development and psychopathology: from neural circuits to global trends
Every year, the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry dedicates an entire issue to state-of-the-art reviews of the science underpinning our field, conducted by leading international experts. Like last year, the Editors sought to bring together a wide range of topics and thinkers covering many of the major themes that define contemporary child psychology and psychiatry. As always, the result is a veritable treasure trove of data and ideas on some of the most important topics of our times. For the second year running, we also invited commentaries from world-leading experts to accompany each review, and in every case the reviews and their commentaries create a fascinating, forward-looking dialogue about the hurdles that have been overcome, and the challenges that lie ahead. As you read the articles in the this year’s Annual Research Review issue, many common threads will no doubt strike you. To my mind, one notable feature of all the articles was the extent to which elegant research designs, and innovations in technology, have been, and will always be, the key to unlocking some of the central puzzles we are faced with when trying to elucidate the mechanisms of child psychopathology: the innovative use of MRI to reveal the complex structural and functional networks of neuronal organization (Vertes & Bulmore); the importance of well-chosen quasi-experiments to reveal the distinctive sequelae of adverse early care (Zeanah & Gleason), or throw light on the very earliest neurodevelopmental processes implicated in ASD and ADHD (Johnson, Gliga, Jones & Charman); the enormous value of consistent measurement and rigorous epidemiological sampling for charting, and understanding, variations in child psychopathology across nations (Polanczyk, Salum, Sugaya, Caye & Rohde), over the lifespan (Costello & Maughan), and over social periods (Collishaw); the use of rare genetic syndromes for disentangling the common and distinct developmental mechanisms involved in ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders (Scerif & Baker), and the major contribution of high-density genotyping, next-generation sequencing and large-scale international collaborative consortia for revealing the hidden heritability problem and pointing to some of the ways it can be tackled (Kiser, Rivero & Lesch). I was also struck by the fact all the authors showed a great willingness to embrace complexity ….
We hope you enjoy the full editorial of this Issue, which is free on the Wiley Online Library.