How does neuroscience help psychology?

The study of the brain is one of the most important sciences today. Thanks to various technologies such as scanners that allow us to know what our brain is like and how it works, the Human Genome Project, the application of genetics in behavior, incredible things have been discovered about that small organ weighing less than a kilo and medium that we have in the head.

Things we couldn’t discover until the “brain decade” began in the 1990s, which sparked a wave of new sciences called cognitive psychology and neurosciences. These are disciplines that are still in force and that are revolutionizing all areas of our lives.

In this brief guide, we’re going to answer the question “How does neuroscience help psychology?’’ If neuroscience and psychology come together, what’s a neuropsychologist and their essential clinical study?

How does neuroscience help psychology?

Unquestionably, there are distinct differences between the disciplines of neuroscience and psychology. However, their similarities are much closer, and this is what makes the relationship between these two subjects more fascinating.

Advances in neuroscience help solidify psychological theory in some cases; in others, neuroscience provides advances that challenge classical ways of thinking. Meanwhile, psychology provides a vital insight into the complexity of human behavior, the product of all those neural processes.

Neuroscience and psychology work together and challenge each other in equal measure, promoting progress in both fields, says Dr. Kevin Fleming, founder of Gray Matters International. Neuroscience (or neuroscience) is the set of disciplines that study the nervous system using the scientific method to create knowledge. 

It’s based on the fundamentals of biology to explain the functioning of the interactions between neurons, cells associated with the nervous system such as the glia, and their interaction with hormones and substances that come from the bloodstream.

Far from being completely unrelated disciplines, psychology and neuroscience can complement each other in various ways. Together, the two areas can help answer questions about cognition and behavior, neural development, neuropsychopharmacology, and plasticity, for example.

Neuroscience research has made its greatest contributions to the study of cognitive development by illuminating the mechanisms (providing a “how”) that underlie behavioral observations previously made by psychologists. 

They’ve also made important contributions to our understanding of cognitive development by showing that the brain is much more plastic at all ages than previously thought, and therefore the speed and degree to which experience and behavior can shape the brain is bigger than almost anyone imagines.

Neuroscience provides all kinds of relevant knowledge about how processes studied by psychology occur. such as memorization, the generation of conscious thoughts, affective states, etc.

In addition to shedding light on the causes of certain mental pathologies. That is why the dialogue between psychology and neuroscience is rich and constant, which favors the creation of interdisciplinary teams that study different phenomena linked to the brain from different sides.

Neuroscience tells us about physical processes that explain, at least in part, many psychological phenomena. Its study helps to understand how the brain works, our senses, and the structures of our body that allow the existence of moods and feelings.

Neuroscience and Psychology come together?

The relationship between these two sciences can be summarized as follows.

Psychology tries to study and understand the reason for human behavior. Neuroscience looks for the biological bases to support the studies.

Neuroscience and Psychology come together in Neuropsychology.

Neuropsychology is a specialty belonging to the field of neurosciences, which studies the relationship between mental and behavioral processes and the brain, constituting a meeting point between psychology and neurology. It is a discipline that studies the relationship between brain structures, cognitive functions, and emotional and behavioral processes. It covers all those pathologies that affect the brain: neurodevelopmental alterations and dysfunctions, neurodegenerative diseases, head injuries, strokes, brain tumors, and anoxia, among others.

What are the approaches to neuropsychology?

In general, in neuropsychology, we can distinguish three different approaches:

  • Classical neuropsychology: Classical neuropsychology had its origin in hospitals. It’s a discipline that aims at intervention. interested only in the location and size of the lesion in the brain.
  • Cognitive neuropsychology: It’s dedicated to the relationship between the functioning of the brain and abilities related to knowledge. It’s used primarily in studies of the effects of brain damage and the diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Comprehensive dynamic neuropsychology: It’s the most current approach to neuropsychology and combines the principles of the two previous approaches. Classical neuropsychology and cognitive neuropsychology.

What is a neuropsychologist?

A neuropsychologist is a psychologist who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of conditions associated with the central nervous system. He has received extensive training in areas such as neuroanatomy, rehabilitation, and evaluation as well as neurological diseases.

A neuropsychologist researches the relationships that a person may have neuronal dysfunction to evaluate, treat, and rehabilitate the person.

What is assessed in a clinical neuropsychology study?

A clinical neuropsychology study evaluates several aspects that are the following:

The higher psychological functions that are those that help us to carry out our daily tasks correctly and are the following:

  • Orientation. The person is asked about information such as name, age, date of birth, where they’re, the circumstances of what has happened, and why you are hospitalized.
  • Attention. It’s the ability that allows us to focus on a task, start, and finish it. For example, you can try to read a text, drive, have a conversation with another person.
  • Hemineglect. It’s a neurological disorder as a consequence of which a person with a normal degree of consciousness isn’t able to recognize stimuli that come from one side of her body. For example, a person with heminegligence wouldn’t realize that another person is on the left side of their visual field and would not be able to fully shave their beard, they would only shave one side.
  • Processing speed. It’s the speed with which our brain can process a piece of information and emit a response. A person with a neurological disorder would take time to answer a simple question, for example.
  • Language. It allows us to communicate, convey what we think, and understand what another person says. It can be affected as a result of neurological damage.
  • Reading, writing, and arithmetic calculation. A person with neurological damage may have trouble reading, writing, or doing arithmetic.
  • Memory. It’s one of the most important fields investigated in clinical neuropsychology. Memory related to the information we receive, the images we see, the order of events, etc. may be affected.
  • Executive functions. They’re the ones that help us to carry out tasks such as cooking a recipe or going shopping.
  • Superior visual functions. It may happen that a person isn’t able to recognize an object or an image or can’t locate a point in space.
  • Motor skills. The coordination and execution of finished movements are studied.
  • Touch assessment. An evaluation of the patient’s touch and her sensitivity with this sense is made.
  • Measurement of IQ. The patient is scanned to measure her cognitive abilities and a number will be obtained as a result. The average IQ in an age group is 100, so a person with an IQ of 130 will be above average. 

When the neuropsychologist has finished evaluating the patient, he prepares a report and meets with the family and the patient (depending on the case) to communicate the results and discuss possible treatments.

So, does neuroscience help psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior, as well as the internal processes that underlie it (memory, attention, motivation). Neurosciences are scientific disciplines that study the nervous system, whose function within the body is to control behavior.

Neuroscience can’t advance without relying on solid and explicit psychological theories.

Psychology can’t advance without the methods and theories from biological and neuroscientific research that claim to explain behavior.

The accumulation of knowledge about the nervous system, the conceptual changes in the understanding of its functioning, and the development of powerful research techniques have made it possible to relate neuroscientific knowledge with data, methods, and theoretical models of psychology (cognitive psychology).

Topics such as memory, language, attention to the cerebral bases of conceptual knowledge, the manipulation of mental images, emotion, feelings, social behavior, non-conscious behaviors, self-awareness, etc. have been addressed. The same can be said of pathology: topics such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, and autism have been addressed.

Brain injuries affect cognitive or behavioral functions an important part of the clinical diagnosis and rehabilitation is carried out by professionals who work with behavior.

The development of new drugs and their use in combination with psychotherapy should be analyzed as harmful or beneficial to the behavior and cognition of patients.

It’s necessary to know about neuroscience as they are one of the sources that provide explanations about the human mind and behavior. Expanding the demands of psychological diagnosis and treatment.

Neuroscience shouldn’t only be considered as a discipline but as a set of sciences whose objective is the investigation of the nervous system with a particular interest in how behavior and learning are related.

FAQSs: How does neuroscience help psychology?

Is Neuroscience better than psychology?

No, both sciences focus on different objectives, however one complements the other. Psychology observes behavior. 

Neuroscience delves into the human mind, looking at biological and chemical processes in the brain and nervous system. Neuroscience makes it possible to look more directly, to see what happens in our brain and psychology to know how to identify.

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.

How does neuroscience help people?

The study of the nervous system allows the understanding of our basic biology and bodily function. Helping to understand the pathologies of the cerberus and how to prevent and treat them.

Is neuroscience real science?

Neuroscience (or neurobiology) is the scientific study of the nervous system. Neuroscience has traditionally been classified as a subdivision of biology, but in reality, it’s an interdisciplinary science closely related to other disciplines, such as mathematics, linguistics, engineering, computer science, chemistry, philosophy, and medicine.

Do neuroscientists make a lot of money?

Working as a neuroscientist offers a wide range of job opportunities, so they earn an excellent average salary. They earn more than $ 64,000 per year. Excellent reward since it’s these people who dedicate their time to help improve the future of patients with degenerative brain pathologies

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How does neuroscience help psychology?’’ If neuroscience and psychology come together, what’s a neuropsychologist and their essential clinical study?

So, neuroscience helps psychologists?

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

References

Is Neuroscience the Future or the End of Psychology? (2017). Retrieved October 7, 2020, from Psychology Today website: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/talking-apes/201702/is-neuroscience-the-future-or-the-end-psychology

What has neuroscience ever done for us? | The Psychologist. (2015). Retrieved October 7, 2020, from Bps.org.uk website: https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-28/april-2015/what-has-neuroscience-ever-done-us

Parada, F. J., & Rossi, A. (2018). If Neuroscience Needs Behavior, What Does Psychology Need? Frontiers in Psychology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00433

Kidd, C., & Hayden, B. Y. (2015). The Psychology and Neuroscience of Curiosity. Neuron, 88(3), 449–460. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2015.09.010

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