Multilevel integrative analyses of human behavior: social neuroscience and the complementing nature of social and biological approaches

Psychol Bull. 2000 Nov;126(6):829-43. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.126.6.829.


Social and biological explanations traditionally have been cast as incompatible, but advances in recent years have revealed a new view synthesized from these 2 very different levels of analysis. The authors review evidence underscoring the complementing nature of social and biological levels of analysis and how the 2 together can foster understanding of the mechanisms underlying complex behavior and the mind. Specifically, they review the utility of considering social influences on biological processes that are often viewed as outside the social domain including genetic constitution, gene expression, disease, and autonomic, neuroendocrine, and immune activity. This research underscores the unity of psychology and the importance of retaining multilevel integrative research that spans molar and molecular levels of analysis. Especially needed in the coming years is more research on the mechanisms linking social and biological events and processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Forecasting
  • Genetics, Behavioral / trends*
  • Humans
  • Neurosciences / trends*
  • Psychology, Social / trends*
  • United States