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Much of the neurocognitive research into various psychiatric disorders has been cross-sectional and has focused on specific processes that are atypical in a given disorder. To progress our understanding of how psychopathology develops, we need to combine different analytical approaches within a longitudinal, developmental, genetically informative framework. This can help us understand phenomena of gene-environment and environment-environment correlation.

In this talk I will provide a brief overview of neurocognitive and genetically informative research into developmental risk for conduct disorder. I will use this overview as a framework for considering how atypical neurocognitive functioning may serve to generate and maintain maladaptive social interactions. I will argue that neurocognitive studies can inform our understanding of individuals as active agents in the generation of particular social ecologies and that unlocking the mechanisms of gene-environment and environment-environment correlation will be of key importance. Advances in this area of research have scope to inform theoretical understanding, as well as interventions designed to help children at risk of developing a disorder and their families.