Can neuroscience replace psychology?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Can neuroscience replace psychology?’’ and the most frequent doubts as to the contributions we receive from them to the world of learning and its meanings. 

Can neuroscience replace psychology?

No, neuroscience isn’t going to replace psychology. In the future, it may be, but at the moment they’re only two allied sciences.

Neuroscience, within its multiple fields of action and its nexus with other disciplines, has many points of contact with psychology. The relationship between the brain, as a biological and physical element, and with the mind.

Dr. Ludden is a Professor of Psychology at Georgia Gwinnett College and has a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology. Ludden explained that some people believe that neuroscience will completely replace psychology, but why?

According to Dr. Ludden, the problem is that psychology doesn’t have a grand unifying theory (GUT) that ties everything together.

He explained that the list of topics that psychology includes is huge, but that it’s not clear what they all have in common. Some authors do not agree with this argument.

Ludden believes that neuroscience is what could provide psychology with this great unifying theory because neuroscience is based on the premise that all psychological processes can ultimately be explained in terms of brain processes.

As a teacher, Dr. Ludden has told his students that “if we want to understand the mind, we must first understand the brain, because, in the end, the brain produces the mind.”

Thanks to the development of brain imaging techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, we’ve learned more about the functioning of the brain in recent decades than in almost all of human history.

Dr. Seth Schwartz, a specialist in Neurotology at Seattle agrees with Dr. Ludden, claiming that tremendous advances in the understanding of how the brain works have made neuroscience the dominant field in psychology.

What is neuroscience?

The official definition of neuroscience is “science that deals with the nervous system and each of its various aspects and specialized functions”.

It’s called neuroscience to the scientific specialty that is dedicated to the integral study of the nervous system, taking into account its functions, its structure, and other aspects. This way it helps to explain diverse characteristics of the behavior and of the cognitive processes through biology.

It could be said that neuroscience arises with the objective of understanding the functioning and structure of the nervous system from different approaches, through diverse methodologies and techniques. 

The brain is the most important organ of the nervous system. That is why neuroscience studies it on multiple levels, analyzing its molecules and cells. In this framework.

What is psychology?

Psychology is a discipline of science that studies human behavior, which aims to analyze the mental and behavioral processes of human beings and their interactions with the physical and social environment.

What does neuroscience bring to the world of learning?

Learning is, in essence, being able to survive. Man learned how to make a fire to warm himself and cook meat.

He learned how to cultivate the land to ensure food regardless of luck in hunting and built homes that would resist rain and cold. By learning, man forged a future for himself, and only in this way did he ensure the continuity of the species.

The brain is still a great unknown, but 30 years ago it was even more so. Advances in neuroscience have made it possible to understand how the brain works and to see the important role that curiosity and emotion play in the acquisition of new knowledge.

From the point of view of educational neuroscience, it should be noted that intelligence is a multidimensional concept, so the same learning environment should lead children to explore, think and express their ideas through a variety of different codes.

Emotions, learning, and memory are closely related. Today it has been scientifically proven that, whether in the classroom or in life, knowledge is not achieved by memorizing, nor by repeating it over and over again, but by doing, experiencing, and above all, by being moved. 

Why is psychology important?

Psychology is important due to the breadth of the field of psychology. Its importance will depend largely on the concrete application to which we refer. Nevertheless, in this section we will reflect on the relevance of psychology at a general level, emphasizing some of its key contributions.

Understand living beings

Psychological theories are fundamental to explain the behavior of animals, especially people: any activity produced in human society is susceptible to be analyzed from psychology since it will always imply the participation of the basic mental processes. In relation to the study of human groups, social psychology is particularly important.

The analysis of behavior isn’t only interesting in itself for a large number of people, but it also allows the application of the knowledge acquired too many different fields, especially within the social and natural sciences such as medicine, sociology, economics, history, political science, demography, linguistics, veterinary medicine or zoology.

Increase the quality of life

Many people believe that the ultimate goal of psychology is to increase the well-being and quality of life of others. Although other professionals have different conceptions, the truth is that service to others has been a central aspect of the development of psychology and continues to be so today.

Clearly, psychology is useful in promoting mental health and personal growth, but the benefits of this science are not limited to the psyche. Health psychology, for example, seeks physical well-being and disease prevention through the acquisition of healthy behavioral habits, a key aspect that medicine tends to neglect.

Improve relationships

The knowledge derived from psychological science is very important for the improvement of human relations. Thus, psychologists are the ones who are best qualified to improve the social skills of shy people, to mediate in cases of divorce, or to intervene in mobbing and bullying, among other functions.

Enhance professional performance

In today’s societies, performance and productivity are extremely valuable on a professional level, and more and more people are realizing that having psychologists on their team clearly enhances results. Human resources, organizational, and sports psychology are good examples of this role.

Cognition development

Many techniques have been proposed from psychology to improve cognitive abilities such as logical reasoning, memory, or problem-solving. We talk about “meta-knowledge” to refer to the knowledge about one’s own learning processes; understanding how our mental processes work is very important to improve them.

Increase creativity

Psychology promotes creativity for various reasons. Not only does it allow the analysis of the artistic process at a deep level, but the understanding of people’s behavior and mental functioning is a very important aid for the creation of meaningful works with realistic characters.

How does neuroscience contribute to psychology?

Education has had a huge failure in not creating critical and creative people. What neurosciences have done is to improve this situation by allowing psychology to better understand what happened and how to deal with it.

By this, I don’t mean that there are no people with this capacity, but to get there they had to work much harder. The scientific contributions of neuroscience in psychology were:

Learning from the brain.

In order to give a psychological analysis, it’s fundamental to know the patient’s brain. To know in which evolutionary phase is his brain to be able to intervene. 

Direct contact with nature and society

We must value these aspects that are important in the first years of life. It’s the key to understanding what is around us, which we can use to progress and learn basic elements of life. Thus it is possible for us, as human beings, to be more critical and creative.

Have a more experimental childhood

Since we’re children, we want to investigate our world and thus be able to understand what is happening. From learning how to care for finding explanations, it is key in the cognitive process.

Knowing the human mind from the neurosciences

If the psychologist learns how a person’s mind works, they can articulate processes to facilitate learning. Also, it allows improving the connections and relationships with their environment in a natural way.

Learning what is the mental fuel

Neuroscience explains to us that to get ahead, to leave behind depression, anxiety, fears, and other disorders, we must move in a motivational wave. In addition, it’s the ideal motor to learn significantly about our environment.

The importance of emotions

It was once believed that emotions only generate crying, pain, suffering, and little happiness. With this brain science and psychology, we’re able to understand that this phenomenon is key to improving physical, mental, and social health.

Recognizing problems more easily

In psychology, pathology can be derived from different environments. With the help of this science, it is possible to determine, with greater precision, what happens to people before it’s too late.

Self-control and altruism

A healthy life, body, and mind are achieved if we manage self-control and altruism in an integral way. We can reach full and social well-being thanks to this discipline.

FAQS: Can neuroscience replace psychology?

Is Neuroscience the same as psychology?

The main difference between psychology and neuroscience is the object of study. Psychology is the study of behavior and the mental processes that lead to behavior: thoughts, feelings, and desires. Psychology observes these behaviors and processes indirectly.

Is Neuroscience harder than psychology?

On the theoretical side of things, neuroscience is significantly more ‘difficult’ that is, it involves a significant amount more memorization and theory. You need to know and understand a great deal of medical jargon, in order to work effectively in yours.

Is neuroscience a hard major?

Neuroscience is a challenging specialization, but it’s challenging in a particular way, and it can be easier than some hard sciences.

What is the relationship between neuroscience and cognitive psychology?

Cognitive neuroscience overlaps with cognitive psychology and focuses on the neural substrates of mental processes and their behavioral manifestations.

What is the future of psychology?

Psychology is the discipline that studies in depth the human psyche from different methods in order to understand and guide human beings throughout their lives. It is considered one of the professions with the most future for three reasons: new technologies, stress, adaptation to change.

In this guide, we will answer the question “Can neuroscience replace psychology?” and the most frequent doubts as to the contributions we receive from them to the world of learning and its meanings. 

So, are these topics interesting? 

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know. 

References 

‌Brazier, Y. (2018, June 26). What is neuroscience? Retrieved September 24, 2020, from Medicalnewstoday.com website: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248680

hlc-admin. (2019, April 7). Honey Lake Clinic – Christian Mental Health Treatment. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from Honey Lake Clinic website: https://www.honeylake.clinic/what-is-the-difference-between-neuroscience-and-psychology/

‌ Is Neuroscience the Future or the End of Psychology? (2017). Retrieved September 23, 2020, from Psychology Today website: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/talking-apes/201702/is-neuroscience-the-future-or-the-end-psychology

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